Dearly beloved, the last verse of the Gospel reading, which is still ringing in your ears, is intended for the instruction of believers. It tells how, when they had entered the house in which the blessed Virgin Mother was staying with her child, they opened their treasures, and offered the Lord three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—thereby acknowledging him as true Lord, true Man, and true King.
Holy Church also offers these same gifts to her Saviour every day without ceasing. She offers him frankincense by acknowledging and believing him to be the true Lord and Creator of all. She offers him myrrh when she affirms that he assumed the substance of our flesh, in which he willed to suffer and to die for our salvation. And she offers him gold by believing without doubt that he reigns eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Alternatively, the offering of these gifts may be taken in a mystical sense. Heavenly wisdom is symbolised by gold, according to the verse of Solomon which says. A priceless treasure lies in the mouth of the sage; and elsewhere Scripture says: The mouth of the just will utter wisdom. By frankincense pure prayer is to be understood, as the psalmist says: Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight, 0 Lord. For when our prayer is pure, it yields a purer fragrance to the Lord than the smoke of burning incense, and just as such smoke rises upward, so does our prayer ascend to the Lord. Myrrh can be taken as the mortification of our flesh.
Thus, we offer the Lord gold when we shine in his sight with the light of heavenly wisdom. We offer him frankincense when we send up pure prayer before him, and myrrh when, mortifying our flesh with its vices and passions by self-control, we carry the cross behind Jesus.
Saint Bruno of Segni
Saint Bruno of Segni (1123) was an Italian monk, bishop, and theologian.