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Christmas ends with Feast of Epiphany today

The long holiday season in the country ends today for many Filipinos with the observance of the Feast of the Three Kings.

Liturgically, however, the joyous season officially ends tomorrow on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

In Rome, Italy, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, traditionally celebrates a mass in honor of the feast at 10 a.m. (4 p.m. Manila time) at the St. Peter’s Basilica.

Also known as the Epiphany or Theophany, meaning “vision of God,” the feast commemorates the manifestation of the Infant Jesus to the Three Wise Men from the East – Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthazar.

Celebrated in some countries as the Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes) and the Feast of Light, priests in white vestments will focus their reflections on the events narrating the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the East in Jerusalem to pay homage to the Infant Jesus.

Warned by an angel in a dream not to tell King Herod of the whereabouts of the Infant Jesus, they took a different path on their return to avoid Herod who wanted to get rid of the newborn child whom he thought was a threat to his throne.

In Eucharistic celebrations today, readings will highlight the spiritual significance of the first manifestation of Jesus to the human race as well as of the symbolic meaning of the gifts of the Magi – Gold, the royal metal, which signified that Jesus is King; frankincense, the symbol of prayer, which signified that Jesus is the Son of God; and myrrh, which is used to anoint the dead, which signified that Jesus has to die for the salvation of the human race. (Christina I. Hermoso)