C Cycle – Feast of the Epiphany 19
Today we find ourselves back in Bethlehem with the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Magi appear, they were following the star and had read the ancient prophesies about Jesus. Can you imagine the surprise God has given these wise, wealthy, seekers of the truth as they find this King of the Jews in a dirty cave with no one around but shepherds? They did not question what they were seeing. They did not wonder if they had gotten it wrong even though there was no palace, no royal robes, no rich food or coronation celebration for this king. Perhaps they were not surprised at all for according to the prophesy he “had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to him” (Isa. 53:2). They knew what many fail to understand and they gave him homage and gifts.
You have heard the phrase calling our growing faith “a journey.” What is guiding our journey to discover Christ? What are we seeking as we are on this journey? Has our faith formation given us an image of Christ the King or a different image surprising us in its simplicity? How many times in the scriptures does Jesus, the exact representation of the Father’s being, surprise those whose image of the Messiah does not match the one in front of them? The woman at the well was surprised. He shocked the religious leaders by touching the lepers, dining with sinners and healing on the sabbath.
Perhaps the best message we can ever receive is the one Jesus offers us and that is joy, peace, forgiveness and mercy. Life gives us sadness, anxiety, judgment and payback. Jesus himself told us “today has enough troubles of its own: (Mt.6:34). What is before us is the same challenge the Magi faced, go and seek in order to give homage to the very one who offers us life.
God has given us a sign, not very different from the sign the Magi were following. We too have heard the prophesies and have been taught and embrace the teaching that Jesus is the Messiah. Perhaps a message we can learn from the story of the Magi is to do exactly what they did and that is to ignore everything that surrounds the truth that calls and invites us. Ignore the trappings one would expect in the presence of a king instead look into the eyes of the King and discover the heart of God.
There is more to discover if we only would embrace and acknowledge the person of Jesus. The Magi brought gifts, what do we bring, what are we offering to God.
What is it we are willing to lay down before Jesus? Are we willing to be bold enough to say to the Herod’s of the world, “we are seeking Jesus,” the promise of God who is the only way to the Father? Are we willing to step into the muck of a cave to kneel before God or do we prefer a nicer place to discover God? Will we join the shepherds and hear the angels, or will we remain in the palace and ignore the call to follow him?
Are we making any attempt to discover what God offers us or are we content to hear about him without embracing what he offers us?
Why was it the Magi knew were to look when the rest of the Jews were oblivious to his coming?
We have all the dogma, theology and instruction to know who Jesus is, but have we made any attempt to journey into his presence. Have we acknowledged him as the one who can help us discover our own identity as sons and daughters?
It is time for you to make your own trip and follow the guiding light of the Holy Spirit leading you to Jesus.
God is waiting for you to discover he is more than you can imagine.