Mass Readings for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
- First Reading – Isaiah 60:1-6: “Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 72: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.”
- Second Reading – Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6: “It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
- Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Themes for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. The feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord commemorates when Jesus Christ was revealed as the Messiah. The Gospel of Matthew recounts that three wise men from the East visited our savior after his birth and acknowledged him with gifts representing kingship, priesthood, and death.
The readings for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord tell of the revelation of Jesus Christ to all people. The first reading tells of a light in Jerusalem which all nations are drawn to. The psalm foretells kings bringing gifts. The second reading explains how God’s grace is now known to all generations and the whole world. The gospel recalls how the Magi came from afar to worship the child Jesus. It also recounts Herod’s jealousy and treachery.
A discussion of what gifts we could bring to the service of the Lord is appropriate. Also, the international aspect of the three Kings speaks to our common humanity and issues such as racism and immigration.
- The journey to get closer to God
- Associating with people of different cultures
- Following the guideposts in our lives
See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord.
Resources for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
Follow That Star Lesson Plan
This Epiphany lesson plan will help youth understand that following Jesus means giving our whole selves over to him and leaving behind anything which is hindering us.
Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
Teach your young friends about Christmas by having a birthday party for Jesus! You can do this as a Christmas or Epiphany activity. Have your high school students plan and run the party for their young siblings, nieces, nephews, and neighbors.
St. Anselm’s Prayer
This prayer asks to see what God desires for us. When we bring our gifts to the Lord, we want them to be aligned with his desires.
Homilies and Reflections for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
Is Science Opposed to Faith?
From Bishop Robert Barron “Friends, the supposed warfare between religion and science is assumed by a lot of young people who disaffiliate from the Church today. But the Magi followed both science and religion, and on the basis of their calculations, journeyed to present Christ with gifts. Their science didn’t lead them away from God but led them toward faith.”
The Star Is a Universal Symbol of Guidance
A homily from Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. The readings show where we have to go in our journey. We start by learning to see our own dignity. Then we learn to love our own family, and people who are like our family. The great leap is to love everyone, and that is what this day is about.
The Magi Seek Out Jesus
From Loyola Press. “The visit of the Magi occurs directly before the story of the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. Matthew’s Gospel tells a version of Jesus’ birth that is different than the one in Luke.” Continue reading.
The Magi and the Spiritual Journey
Also from Bishop Barron. “For Epiphany Sunday, we hear the marvelous story from the Gospel of Matthew in which the Magi journey to see the Christ child. This scene has beguiled artists, poets, and preachers for centuries. But we can distill five profound spiritual lessons—about being attentive, taking action, facing opposition, giving Christ what is best in us, and being transformed into new creations—from this perhaps overly familiar story.”
More Thoughts for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
The appearance of the star and the visit of the Magi point us to the role of Jesus as Messiah. Miraculous events begin even at his birth.
Some scholars think that Matthew embellished a true story to make the point that Jesus came for the Gentiles also. The other Gospel accounts do not mention the Magi. However there is no evidence to the contrary.
Matthew shows us Jesus as a baby, weak and vulnerable. This is in contrast to the powerful Herod, who is so insecure at the news of a rival king that he orders every male child murdered. Even as an infant, Jesus shows us that political power will be at odds with the Kingdom of God.
Reflection Questions for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
- How do I respond to clashes between faith and power?
- Do I really believe everyone throughout the world can be a part of the Kingdom of God?
Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.Isaiah 60:1-2
The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star.Pope Benedict XVI
The Magi set out at the rising of the star. They teach us that we need to set out anew each day, in life as in faith, for faith is not a suit of armour that encases us; but a fascinating journey, constant and restless movement, ever in search of God.Pope Francis
Like the Magi, believers are led by faith to seek God in the most hidden places, knowing that the Lord waits for them there.Pope Francis
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