look into the sky

On Christmas night, the shepherds looked into the sky and saw angels announcing the birth of Jesus. The wise men, experts in the movements of the stars, also looked into the sky, and they saw the star that signified the coming of the Christ. The shepherds symbolize Israel, God’s chosen people; the wise men stand for the Gentiles, the ‘nations of the earth.’ On the feast of Epiphany – ‘manifestation’ – the coming of the Son of God begins to be made known to all the nations. The wise men follow the star, seeking the truth. They are an example of ‘faith seeking understanding’ in the words of St Anselm. In contrast to the wise men, King Herod and his advisers have access to the Scriptures, but are not ready to hear the message of Christ’s coming. The wise men bring handsome gifts – gifts fit for a King – expecting nothing in return. They show us an example of the open and generous response of true disciples to the birth of Christ. The Feast of the Epiphany reminds us that true disciples are drawn from all the nations of the earth. Christ comes to unite us in faith.

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