Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
We are all wrapped up in the same mystery that touched the Magi. The Magi received a call to look for Christ. We have received the same call. Our vocation is to always look for Christ.
We have Google maps, GPS, satellite tracking—all that the Magi had was a star. Yet, with all the obstacles they faced, the Magi reached their destination. Every time something good is going to happen there are obstacles. King Herod was an obstacle. Who gets in our way? Who or what keeps us from Christ? We get lazy in our prayer. We get distracted by machines. We can become discouraged when we feel that God does not respond to our requests. At times we can be our own obstacle because of pride. If we have resentment in our soul, we cannot see Christ in anyone. None of us are free of sin, but resentments blind us—we are unable to see goodness in anyone. The Magi did not focus on their inadequacies, on the problems at home or the deception of Herod. They focused on their goal—to get to the newborn King. We no longer need a star to guide us, we have the Church. Our Church teaches us the truth. She shows us how to find Christ. Naturally, there are obstacles—people who speak against the Church, who want to discredit Her identity—Her mission. The Church faces many fallen away Catholics who now fill the fundamental religions. Perhaps worst of all is the ignorance of people Baptized who do not know their Faith. All obstacles can be overcome with God’s help. Our willingness to set out on the journey is all that is required—a little disciple—a little effort—lots of desire—God does the rest. If the Magi had given up, we would not be celebrating their Feast. Perseverance, without grantees was their guiding star. Foreigners, outsiders, non-believers were not only called—they were welcomed by Our Lord. He does not discriminate. The Feast of the Epiphany is about inclusion.
Catholic means universal—Catholic means “here comes everybody”. Belonging to a Parish, a community involves ownership, along with commitment, but never at the price of shutting everybody else out. The people with whom we would rather not associate would probably be the most welcome by Christ. The life of Jesus reflects that He associated with the outcast, non-conformists, the notorious sinners. Jesus got into a lot of trouble because He disregarded social barriers. In our imitation of Christ, we have to do the same. Our vision has to include the excluded—the least among us.
Notice that the Magi did not return the same way they came. Symbolic of our journey. Once we find Christ, we cannot return to our old ways—"business as usual” lifestyle. The Magi brought gifts and showed the Lord that they loved Him. However, they were the ones who received gifts from Him. What is the price of Faith? How much is salvation worth? All the gold, frankincense and myrrh in the world could not compare to what the Magi received—a face to face encounter with the Living God. They did not realize the benefit until later, maybe in heaven. Whatever we bring to the Lord in our stewardship of time, talent, and treasure—He always out does us in generosity. Jesus gives us Himself in the gift of Eucharist. The same Epiphany that happened in Bethlehem happens for us at the Altar. The same Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, who constantly reveals Himself to us. Just like the Magi were never the same after their encounter, we cannot remain indifferent to the presence of Christ in our brothers and sisters. The New Year brings new opportunity to begin a new life. Looking back helps us not repeat mistakes, looking forward helps us to be hopeful for a better tomorrow. But the most difficult place to live is now—this moment—today. We can imagine that the Magi were fully alert in front of the child they traveled so far to see. Our challenge is to open our eyes to the Lord who is here, always waiting for us.
We have been invited to meet Our Savior. We want to be totally present. We bring the gift of ourselves. Jesus gives us Himself in return.