B Cycle – Epiphany of the Lord 20
We do not know the length of time these three Magi studied the prophesies looking for clues which would point them to the day and place the coming of the Messiah would appear. All we know is they knew what to look for and when they saw the sign, they started the journey to give homage to God. This is not a story about them and yet we always seem to be interested in them. We have attempted to discover their names, where they came from, how they came to be magi and how they developed this desire to see the promised King of the Jews.
To tell you the truth I am less interested in them than I am in knowing something about their desires, the desires of those there that day and our desires.
The truth is today we have far too much knowledge of who Jesus is, why he came, how his birth came about, his mission, his death, and his resurrection. We can easily respond to most questions about Jesus and quote from memory all the things we have been taught about him.
But do we have a desire to give him homage? Do we have a desire to endure hardships and overcome obstacles in a quest to discover what he offers us? Do we even know what he offers us right now, not some distant time in the future after we leave this earth?
Can you mentally visualize how crowded every town in the occupied territory of Israel was at that time? Because of the census, all inhabitants were mandated to return to their origin of birth and register their household members. As small as Bethlehem was, there had to be hundreds of people there on the night he was born. Yet not one of them ventured out that night the star shone so brightly, and the angels sang in the heavens. No one noticed the shepherds as they walked the streets to give glory to this newborn king.
How is it possible none of the towns people or any of the visitors to the city never seemed to notice nor follow these three mysterious travelers and their entourage? All we have are insignificant shepherds and these magi giving homage to the Son of God. Or could it be that there were other people there who watched without any inward or outward response?
The endured much to give him homage. They were not there to receive anything from him but to acknowledge and witness the truth of the prophesy. They endured much on their journey and knew the danger of returning to Herod with their stories of wonder and awe and about what they had witnessed. They kept what they saw and experienced to themselves and returned to their home. We have never heard another word about them. We have no idea of how did the sight of Jesus impact their lives or change their hearts?
Instead of a quest to understand them we should take the time today to examine our own journey and approach to Jesus. Do we have the same desire these three had to daily give homage to Jesus for the gift of salvation? Do we have a desire to discover the joy, the peace Jesus said he would give us? Do we desire to feel the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said he would send us? Do we want to feel the arms of the Father embrace us as he did the prodigal son? Do we want to have our faith expanded and our faith deepen through attaching ourselves to Jesus?
This feast makes it easy to look only at the event and not an invitation to respond to the coming of Jesus. I believe this feast is a call to us to become seekers. To become a people who desire to know, within the core of our being who Jesus is and why his coming needs to be something we acknowledge as an event offering us a new life. It is critical for us to embrace and give him our hearts in return.
We are like the shepherds who had no gold, frankincense, or myrrh to offer him. We like them can and must give him thanks for his willingness to come so we may have life. On that day, the magi understood, the shepherds understood the meaning of his birth. They were all changed by the even and so must we be changed because Jesus came for us.
But what we must spend some time thinking about is “have we allowed Jesus’s coming and dying to impact our lives. To reflect on that question is to seek. Then after seeking and discovering the promise of God to change our hearts and become witnesses to the love of God. Then after witnessing we must become disciples following the Light of the World.