Fr. James Martin, S.J.: In the Epiphany, Christ comes for everyone

Quentin Metsys, "The Adoration of the Magi," 1526. Detail. Met Museum.  

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts

Advertisement

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play

Join our Patreon Community

The parish I grew up in was called Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church. It is still there in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Over the main entrance is an immense stained-glass window of that scene: the Epiphany, when the Wise Men came to pay homage to the Infant Jesus. The tall window is executed in the bold, chunky, stained glass so popular in the 1950s and 1960s. I always loved looking at it when we left church at the end of Mass. And it always made me wonder if the Epiphany happened exactly as was depicted in my church, or as it was described in the Gospels. After all, the visit of the Magi is included only in Matthew’s Gospel. Mark, Luke and John leave it out.

window
The window Fr. Martin is describing.

So it’s hard to know if it happened exactly in the way it was recounted. But the deeper meaning of the Epiphany is that Christ came to all the world’s people, not just to the Jewish people. The message of Christ—which is love, forgiveness, mercy, peace and care for the poor—is meant for all the world. At the close of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus repeats this message: “Make disciples of all nations,” he says. Now few of us will be going to “all the nations” to make disciples.

But can you do that in your own world? The Wise Men came all that way to hear the good news. I’ll bet there are a lot of people in your life who would like to hear it too.

[Don’t miss any of the latest writings, podcasts and videos from Father Martin. Sign up for his newsletter.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Steve Magnotta
2 months 2 weeks ago

Amen.

J Brookbank
2 months 2 weeks ago

Here's an epiphany for you Jesuits:

Some of us noticed that you, an order of Catholic priests devored to education, cleverly timed your corporate release of names of credibly accused priests to coincide with December exams, holidays and a mass exedus from campus.

In short, you timed your disclosure so it could come and go without much notice.

Kind of like Friday night disclosures in politics...

And here on your website those stories are buried in the archives already.

There should be a permanent and prominent link on America's website EDUCATING (there is an idea) readers on this topic.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Lucetta Scaraffia, editor in chief of "Women Church World" a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, poses in her house in Rome. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)
"We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization," founder Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in the editorial, which went to the printers last week but hasn't been published.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shakes hands with Alabama State Sen. Henry Sanders at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Ala., on March 19. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., responded to a question about his religious views by talking about his own faith and what he sees as a distortion of Christianity among U.S. conservatives.
Since retiring from my job, my husband has found me irritating. We had a talk (after fighting), and he is right: I am mothering him. Smothering him. “I have a mother,” he said. “I want a wife, a partner, a best friend.”
Valerie SchultzMarch 25, 2019
Jesus asks us to be generous with the poor. It’s one of the foundations of his public ministry: caring for the poor himself and asking his disciples to do so.
James Martin, S.J.March 25, 2019