When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; 11and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10
More than the Kings came and worshipped Jesus, epiphany is important while considering the three important roles of a Christian, as a King, a Prophet and a Priest. Holy Maggi presented the most precious gift to an almost unknown new-born child and to his poor parents. By choosing the gifts for the King of Israel Holy Maggi predicted the role of Christ and thus the role of every Christian.
The gift of gold was considered worthy of a king. The buildings and treasures of kings and pharaohs from the ancient past have left reminders that gold was the prize of rulers and kings. Men such as King Solomon and King Nebuchadnezzar treasured gold. Kings and gold were often connected. King Solomon highly valued gold and King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold idol or image of himself.
All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. 2 Chronicles 9:20
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Daniel 3:1
Frankincense and myrrh come from tree resins. Frankincense was once greatly valued throughout the Middle East, from Rome to India and was very expensive and a gift of fragrance. It was used for a variety of purposes such as incense (Exodus. 30:34), medical treatment, and perfume (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14). We discover from the Bible that frankincense was used in worship.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy.… Exodus. 30:34.
Myrrh was less expensive than frankincense, but was still highly valued. It is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis. 37:25, where it was being carried by camels on a caravan. Myrrh was used for a variety of purposes, a perfume (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14), an anaesthetic, burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil, and to deodorize clothes. According to Esther 2:12, it was also a cosmetic used by women. John 19:39 records that myrrh was used in Jesus’ burial.
Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. John 19:39
The function of priesthood is to bring about a union between God and mankind. Then we can see that Christ Jesus is the priest, because he is both God and man. He taught mankind about God, his father and offered God true worship for the mankind. “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father” . John 6:46. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you “ John 17:20. He exercised this priesthood in his work of Redemption, especially in his death, Resurrection and Ascension. Christ continues to exercise his priestly function through his Church because, through baptism, all share in his Risen Life. The entire Church is therefore a priestly community.
“For all their works, prayers and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently borne – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the Body of the Lord.” (Lumen Gentium 34)
A prophet is one who proclaims the truth about God, who helps people to understand the meaning of what God is doing in their lives. Christ can be described as the prophet because he does not just proclaim the truth about God, he is that Truth. He embodies in his person the Word of God and continues his prophetic work through all who are baptised, who share in his Risen Life.
All Christians are called to be the means by which the world comes to understand God’s presence and activity. It is therefore the calling of all Catholics to be the presence of Christ the prophet in their own homes, their street, local community and place of work. Parents have a duty to be the first teachers of their children: ‘may they be the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do’ .
It is important that all Catholics challenge values in society that are not in accordance with the Gospel. So the lay person’s involvement in secular affairs has an important apostolic dimension.
Through baptism all Christians share in the work of Christ as King, which is to bring all creation into obedience to the Father. They are called to share in the work of spreading Christ’s Kingdom of justice, peace, truth and love by striving to conquer sin in their own lives and helping each other lead better lives so that the whole world may be filled with the Spirit of Christ.
As Catholics we are not to turn away from the world, but rather by our human labour we cooperate with Christ in bringing the whole of creation to perfection. All Catholics are called to work for peace and justice, and to help overcome inequality, hatred and prejudice. They are to sanctify the world by the way they live their lives. So lay people do not just have a role in the Church. But rather, in and through baptism they are incorporated into Christ’s body, the Church and, in union with Christ, their mission is the mission of the Church.
This present day has been made holy by thy mystic baptism,
whereby thou didst sanctify those waters of the Jordan,
which of old were thrice turned back.
It is holy by the star shining in the heavens, whereby thou didst announce
thy Virginal Mother’s delivery and didst, on the same day,
lead the Magi to adore thee in thy crib.
It is holy too, by thy changing the water of the pitchers into wine;
which the steward of the feast, knowing that he had not so filled them,
drew forth for the guests.
Glory be to thee, O Lord Jesus, that didst appear on this Day!
And to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, for everlasting ages. Amen.
Hymn of St. Ambrose (338-397)