The Epiphany of the Lord
The word Epiphany means “manifestation”; it has passed into general acceptance throughout the universal Church. God manifests the divine mission of Jesus Christ when a miraculous star reveals Jesus’ birth to the kings of the East, thus fulfilling the prophecy that “a star will arise from Jacob.”
These Wise Men understand that this star is announcing the Savior-King, destined to be born of the Jews. In spite of the difficulties and dangers of a long and tedious journey through deserts and mountains almost impassable, they hasten at once to Bethlehem to adore Him. There, they offer Him mystical presents, as the King of kings.
The feast commemorates a second manifestation, when He comes forth from the waters of the Jordan. After Jesus receives John’s Baptism, the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the visible form of a dove. A voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The third manifestation which the Church’s liturgy presents is that of the divine power of Jesus when, He changes water into wine at the marriage feast at Cana. At the sight of this miracle, His disciples believe in His Divinity. The Church wishes to celebrate these three great events in one and the same festival.