SCRIPTURE BACKGROUND

Epiphany of the Lord

First Reading

  • The reading from Isaiah refers to a time of great hope in ancient Israel.
  • Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the Babylonians, was about to be rebuilt.
  • God’s presence and guidance are often associated with light—notice words such as shine and radiance.

Second Reading

  • The Jewish Paul of Tarsus was overwhelmed by the light of Christ.
  • Paul stressed that God always reaches out first.
  • God’s promise to Israel is fulfilled in Jesus and all people, both gentiles and Jews share in salvation in Christ.

Gospel

  • The gospel reading links Jesus to God’s promise to Israel.
  • The royal title given by the magi to Jesus points to his role as messiah.
  • In ancient times the birth of a great person was often associated with astrological events.

For more see Celebrate the Sunday Readings, by David Brehm.