Friends, the Gospel for the feast of the Epiphany contains some elemental theological themes. One of them has to do with the relation between Christianity and the nations.
We hear something extraordinary. Magi from the East left their home country in search of a newborn king whose star they had observed at its rising. Why, precisely, would people leave their own country in order to worship a foreign king at his birth?
So this odd story should get our attention. Magi—kings, astrologers—seek out a foreign king who somehow, nevertheless, belongs to them. We’re actually coming close to the heart of the biblical revelation. Of all the nations of the world, God chose to make of Israel a beacon to the world, so that through Israel all might be gathered.
Yes, a king would be born for the Jews, but he wouldn’t be for the Jews alone. This Messiah would be the King of kings, a light to all the nations. The Messiah, therefore, would represent the overcoming of the nations, the transcendence of the disputes between peoples and cultures that had so tragically marked human history, and the opening up of a new possibility.