Epiphany of Our Lord
Mt 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.
Acting on the truth
The Magi were strange people, Zoroastrian priest-astrologers who sought knowledge and guidance in stars and dreams. More importantly, they were non-Jews. Their story was written to teach us that Jesus was born for Gentiles as well as Jews, that all humanity is called to oneness in Christ.
They exchanged their comfortable priestly homes for an arduous journey to find the one at whom the heavens hinted. Their lights led them to Jerusalem, to people of the promise, priests and Scripture scholars, who told them where to look, but didn’t bestir themselves to go. The Magi found Jesus, worshipped him and offered him gifts.
The Magi stand for us. It is not enough, like those Jerusalem priests, to know the truth. We need to act on it, to leave our comfort zone, to search seriously for the meaning of our lives, and finally to offer him the gift of our very selves.
—Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ is a retreat director at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Lord God, the star that led the Magi to the manger announced that the Light of the world had been born. Today, our world is still covered in darkness. May we reflect your light through our lives, as we act as witnesses to the transforming power of encountering Jesus Christ. Let us never cease seeking a deeper relationship with you. Amen.
—Jesuit Prayer team