Epiphany – Matt 2:10-11

10 And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: They rejoiced, because their hopes were not falsified but confirmed, and because the toil of so great travel had not been undertaken in vain.

By the mystery of this star they understood that the dignity of the King then born exceeded the measure of all worldly kings.

Gloss: He rejoices indeed who rejoices on God’s account, who is the true joy.

11 And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: “Mary His mother,” not crowned with a diadem or laying on a golden couch; but with barely one garment, not for ornament but for covering, and that such as the wife of a carpenter when abroad might have. Had they therefore come to seek an earthly king, they would have been more confounded than rejoiced, deeming their pains thrown away. But now they looked for a heavenly King; so that though they saw nought of regal state, that star’s witness sufficed them, and their eyes rejoiced to behold a despised Boy, the Spirit shewing Him to their hearts in all His wonderful power, they fell down and worshipped, seeing the man, they acknowledged the God.

Rabanus: Joseph was absent by Divine command, that no wrong suspicions might occur to the Gentiles.

Gregory: Gold, as to a King; frankincense, as sacrifice to God; myrrh, as embalming the body of the dead.

Wisdom is typified by gold; as Solomon saith in the Proverbs, “A treasure to be desired is in the mouth of the wise.” By frankincense, which is burnt before God, the power of prayer is intended, as in the Psalms, “Let my speech come before thee as incense.” [Ps 141:2] In myrrh is figured mortification of the flesh. To a king at his birth we offer gold, if we shine in his sight with the light of wisdom; we offer frankincense, if we have power before God by the sweet savour of our prayers; we offer myrrh, when we mortify by abstinence the lusts of the flesh.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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