Matt. 2: 1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:‘ And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Today, almost at the end of the Christmas season, our attention shifts to the Magi who arrive in Bethlehem. Most probably they were astrologers or ancient philosophers who took their cue from the natural phenomena of the heavens. Because they were wealthy enough to have camels and able to travel a long distance, they have come to be thought of as prosperous kings. Wherever they came from and whatever gifts they brought, they opened their hearts, their treasure, their very lives to this newborn Jewish child.
The Scripture readings this season speak to us about relationship—about the possibility that God could and in fact does love each one of us so powerfully and so personally. Along with God’s steadfast love, we also experience the invitation to manifest the Lord’s life and love to one another as we travel about this world . . . using our time and talents, our leadership and love to make a difference in the Lord’s name.
Simple? Perhaps. But certainly never easy, for always involved is that very real risk of relationship. That risk inspires both courage and trust—that the promise God wove into our very souls through the birth of Jesus will give flesh to something alive and wonderful in our outreach to one another, as promised us through the vibrant life of Jesus Christ, born anew to our waiting world. Perhaps this is the key to why this feast of the Epiphany is so important for all that we hope to accomplish this year. May God bless us all as we take up this mission Jesus gives us this day!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, did the wise men hold you with your infant fingers touching their hands? Did they talk sweetly to you as they presented you with their finest gifts? Did they whisper to your parents with an urgency and caution about their dream? Did they warmly embrace you, Mary, and Joseph as “they left for their own country by another road?” Lord, once we have met you, we, too, go home by a different road. We pray that our sight, touch, and voice recognize you in both the great and everyday signs.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!