Epiphany, literally, “a coming upon light.” The Wise Men come upon the Light. They followed the Star, the light. And lo and behold, the light of eternity is revealed to them.
The gifts they bring foreshadow the destiny of Jesus. Gold is for kings. Frankincense is for worship. Myrrh is for burial rites.
The Magi were seekers. Perhaps their intense search is the point of Matthew’s story of the Magi. Only Matthew mentions them. When you do a little bit of research, you realize why. I highly recommend that you check out an article entitled, “Can Astronomy Explain the Biblical Star of Bethlehem?” Type that question into a search box and you’ll find a very interesting article reprinted in USNEWS.
Matthew’s gospel was written primarily for the Jewish community and prophecies were important. The Magi ask around in Jerusalem, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” Herod the King felt threatened and if Herod was threatened, then all Jerusalem feared what he would do. The Holy Innocents!...
The coming of these gentile astrologers and mathematicians becomes a powerful way of saying that the Messiah is destined to be savior for all people.
More than simple prophetic fulfillment, I think Matthew wants to underline how important this “new king” would be for all the world. I wonder if Matthew is saying to us, “See how important these foreigners thought Jesus was?” Matthew might also be saying, “Would you go to that much trouble to find someone you thought was important?”
By their journey, the Magi challenge us to realize our own destiny, to be light bearers as well. My personal challenge is to ask myself, to what lengths am I willing to go, to discover light with someone, or for someone, and then share it.
GEAR SHIFT. Speaking of shared light, I can’t thank you enough for all the Christmas cards and good wishes you sent to me, Annie, Patricio, Cathy, and Peter. We are very grateful. “You light up our lives...” (Does that sound like a song lyric?) I hope we are showing our appreciation for you as well. That’s the “sharing” I mean in the previous paragraph, two-way sharing.
All my Christmas cards go into a basket on the dining room table. Each day, I will take one of those cards and pray for the people who sent it. Remembering friends and experiences brings a little light to each day that wouldn’t have been there.
Last weekend for the first time since March of 2020, except for Christmas and Easter, our attendance topped 300, 310 to be exact. I think of you gathered within our walls, sending out lots of prayerful peace to relatives, friends, and people in need. Your prayer extends the Lord’s touch to those folk who can’t or maybe won’t come.
The phrase “holy day of obligation,” i.e., the days when we are supposed to come and celebrate Mass, always seemed to me to sound a little like a burden rather than a blessing. BUT, the idea of “obligation” can remind us how important Eucharist is for our spiritual life. An occasional reminder not to forget a most important gift we have received in the here-and-now, blesses even the most virtuous of us.
I wondered if getting out of the habit of going to Mass during the COVID period diminished the sense of the importance of Sunday Eucharist for some people. Happily, last Sunday’s 310 said we haven’t been dimin¬ished. We are more grateful than ever.
With gratitude, I’m yours in Jesus,