As we have celebrated the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. I would like to share some insight on how it is celebrated in my home Parish back in Kenya. In our parish we celebrate the feast of Epiphany as Pontificate Missionary Children feast day. Our Pontificate missionary Children with the help of their promoters/ animators, animates the Mass of the feast of Epiphany by cleaning the Church, bringing offertory for the poor, they oversee the reading for the day, they lector 1st reading, Psalms, and 2nd reading. They participate in liturgical dances as they process with the offertory.
During Mass the Pontificate missionary children perform small skit/drama/play according to the Gospel of Mathew 2:1-12 on the (feast of the Epiphany). The pontificate missionary children some of them act and dress like Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, others take part as the Magi from the east. As the priest proclaim the Gospel according to Mathew 2:1-12, the pontificate missionary children demonstrate by acting the part of the Magi: they went into the house and when they saw the child with his Mother Mary, they knelt and worshipped him. They brought out their gift of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, presented them to him. As they present their gifts it is accompanied by singing the song of the Magi following the star from the east. The Pontificate missionary children are also responsible for the prayer of the faithful with various intention, praying for the Church leaders, Pope, Bishops, priest, and Deacon, world leaders, the sick, for Children in war zone countries and those who are abuse, the poor, and the deceased brothers and sisters.
After Mass there is a little reception at the parish hall. All the faithful join the Pontificate missionary children in sharing a cup of tea, and the Pontificate missionary children entertain the parishioners by singing some traditional, and sacred songs. The feast of the Epiphany come to conclusion with final blessing from the Pastor.
As I was reflecting on the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, it reminded me of my own Samburu culture in Kenya. The three gifts offered by the Magi Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh has some symbolic and significance among the Samburu tribe: Gold is used as an identification of marriage worn by married women in their ears as earrings. No woman can wear this unless she is married. These signifies its value. It also worn by heroes (war warriors) on their right hand. These signifies patriotic, strong, fearless soldiers in war. Hence respected by the community as heroes in their own community, also they defend the community from oppression from other communities. In other words their like Kings and Queens.
Frankincense: is a local available incense from a tree known as (Silalei)
It is used during offertory especially sacrifice of a burning offering of an animal.
It used during prayers by the elders
It used during blessing of other items, and livestock.
Myrrh: Myrrh is used especially when an elder is a point of death. An elderly dying person is given oil, if in a risk of death. He/ she is anointed with oil on his/her lips or the body before the person pass away. The oil that is used is only from a fat sheep not any other oil.
As Christian the interpretation for the three gifts offered by the Magi, the gift of Gold stands for the kingship of Jesus. the gift of Frankincense stands for divinity of Jesus, and the gift of Myrrh stands for humanity of Jesus. As they magi look at the child Jesus, they believe and they did not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: frankincense for God, (worship of God) (divinity) Gold for a king, (kingship) and Myrrh for one who is to die.(humanity). As the Magi offered their gifts to the Child Jesus, we too are invited to offer the gift of our life to Jesus by participating in Holy Sacrifice of Mass, deepening our relationship with God through personal and family prayers, listening to the word of God by reading the Holy Scriptures, spending some time with Jesus in adoration by recognizing His presence among us and everyone we encounter in our daily life.