It might be correct to call the Epiphany the feast of Taking Down the Walls since the feast shows that the coming of Christ was meant not only for the people of Israel (represented by the shepherds) but also for non-Jews (represented by the Magi).

In God’s kingdom, the separation between Jew and Gentile, Israelite and foreigner was done away with in order to form a new people of God who would transcend all differences and all barriers. St. Paul spelled this out explicitly in his letter to the Galatians (chapter 3, verse 28).

What is the relevance of this feast for us today?  I think the challenge this feast offers is the call to stop dividing up the world into Jews or Gentiles, the “saved” or the “not-saved,” those whom God loves and whom God does not, or into any other kind of split and antagonism such as religion, social class, race,  political party or gender. As this new year begins, the feast of the Epiphany reassures us that all are called and all are welcome in the presence of the Lord.

—Fr. Frank Majka, S.J., a Wisconsin Jesuit, is engaged in pastoral ministry at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.