Reflecting on Matthew for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

From The Gospel of Matthew, by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 2:1-12


A number of Church Fathers marveled over the faith of the magi, who through human eyes see only an ordinary child in Bethlehem but by faith see so much more. They fall down and worship God in human flesh and offer him gifts of gold for his kingship, frankincense for his divinity, and myrrh for his humanity.

This is the type of response we should have even today when we meet Jesus in the Eucharist. Though with the eyes of our bodies we see what appears to be only bread, with the eyes of faith we know it to be the very body of our Lord.

The Council of Trent mentions the magi’s worship of the Christ child as a model for our adoring him in the Eucharist: “For in this sacrament we believe that the same God is present whom the eternal Father brought into the world….It is the same God whom the Magi fell down and worshipped.” We, like the magi, can show Jesus great reverence when we kneel before his Real Presence in the Eucharist. We too can bring him gifts, perhaps not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but the gifts of our hearts in praise and thanksgiving, which would be, according to St. Gregory Nazianzen, great “spiritual gifts, more sublime than those which can be seen with eyes.”

© 2010 Curtis Mitch, Edward Sri, and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


  1. Marie Francis says:

    I am always very inspired by these Commentaries.
    The commentary on the Epiphany is awakening. It has filled me with deeper understanding of the gifts that we can give to the child Jesus. It has made me realise and recognise the fact that the gifts that His Holy Spirit has given to us should be used for ourselves and for our neighbour.
    Thank you very much