Sunday, January 6, 2013
In Christian Tradition there has long been the connection between the wood of the manger and the wood of the Cross. Jesus-shaped living, which is true discipleship, is cruciform. In this same vein, on this Solemnity of the Epiphany, when considering Matthew 2:11- The magi "prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh"- that the last of these gifts, myrrh, which was used as an embalming oil, it points forward to His death.
There is a very real sense that the life Jesus' disciples' is, in imitation of our Lord, a sacrificial death, a continual dying to ourselves and living for others, most particularly for Him. This is why, later in St. Matthew's Gospel, He says, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt. 16:24-25). Any Epiphany that does not lead to or reinforce this is hardly worth having.