The Light Shines for All
Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

Today’s feast completes the Christmas diorama. All the characters are present. The Three Kings have arrived. In some churches in the Philippines the build up toward the completion of the tableau started from the middle of December with different figures added daily, starting from the manger, the various animals, the star, Mary and Joseph, the Child Jesus, the angels, the shepherds and finally, the three kings or the Magi. Before this day the three kings were shown at a distance. Today they are moved near Jesus in the nativity scene. As the Gospel relates, “They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Mt. 2:2-12).

Underneath the simplicity of these symbols is a profound truth. The light of salvation is for all. God wants all people to be saved - whatever their color, creed, or country. Light is not choosy. It shines for all. This is beautifully expressed in the first reading taken from the prophet Isaiah (60:1-6). Perhaps, looking over the city of Jerusalem at break of day, Isaiah was struck by its morning beauty, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come…Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.” Jerusalem becomes a symbolic place of unity for all peoples, “Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and fankincese, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”

Action starter: Claim your birthright as a royal and follow the way of the King of kings.

This universal call to salvation is affirmed by St,. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The secret is now revealed, “the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise of Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:5-6). God’s plan is in the open. God shows His face in Jesus His Son. Everyone is invited to be a member of God’s universal family. By the birth of Jesus into the human family, all men and women are called to be part of the divine family.

We now have the privilege that astronauts in outer space used to have. They were able to see the earth from a distance. We are a speck in space. We now have the technology to view ourselves from the eyes of a roving satellite. From afar, we are no longer nations or tribes or cultures. We are humans. It is for us that God offered His Son as a gift. Why God would take all that trouble for such puny, quarrelsome, and divided creaturtes is a big mystery. God sees beyond those human frailties. God sees our nobility and our identity as heirs of the Kingdom.

This God-story is contained in some legends of different cultures. The frog is really a prince. The beast is a nobleman. The pauper is a king. Sometimes, we forget our identity as a priestly and kingly people. We see ourselves and others around us as “human, all too human.” We focus on the mud on our feet and we do not feel the crown on our heads. We see the darkness of our sinfulness and we are not aware of the light of grace that surrounds us. We have a ghetto mentality and do not see the wider horizons, the world of opportunities for loving and living.

Perhaps we are waiting for a goodly maiden to kiss the frog and the beast. We are in the dark until somebody tells us and shows us the evidence that we are not paupers but kings. The time is here and now. Christ is the revelation of God. He manifests God’s plan for all peoples and all ages. He is the first-born and we are co-heirs. The light shines and drives away the darkness. Let us rise, take hold of the Light and like the three kings spread the good news of God's saving love.