I hope you all enjoyed the festivities and celebrations of Advent and Christmas. Many thanks to all those who helped make our liturgies so meaningful. At this time too, I would like to thank you for your good wishes, Christmas cards and gifts, both to myself and the parish. All are very much appreciated.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany and the great Gospel story of the visit of the Magi. We are familiar with the term Magi, although it is more common to refer to them as the 3 wise men, or the 3 kings.
As people of faith, do we know the names of these important visitors? They are: Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior. The three wise men were called to come and give worship to the child Jesus. They were called by the powerful light of a star and by careful study of Old Testament Scripture. As scholars of non-Jewish heritage, they realized that the messiah has come to visit his people.
The Feast of the Epiphany is the celebration of the manifestation of Jesus the Lord to the Gentiles. And this manifestation is represented by these mysterious kings from the Far East. The visit of these kings will make clear that the King of King came to save all people of every nation. This is the manifestation of the New Covenant. This is the beginning of the universality of Christ’s church; that universality we call Catholic.
The Magi journeyed far and for quite some time to pay homage to Jesus. This would not be an easy journey. Yet their faith in the promise of new hope motivated them to press on. They did not have the advantage of witnessing Christ’s miracles, reading the stories of Jesus in the New Testament, they hardly could know of the passion, crucifixion, death and resurrection that were to come. Still their faith was enough.
And they came not to say hello, here we are. No, they came to pay Christ worship and to bring him their finest gifts. And these gifts we all know so well; gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold is the most precious of all earth’s metals, frankincense is the incense that is burned in churches down through the centuries to make a pleasing offering to God and myrrh is a byproduct that is used in the holy oils for anointing. These precious gifts represent all that the life of Jesus, sent to us through the Virgin to save us, is all about; for He is our priest, our prophet and our King.
What does all of this mean for us today? These men gave their all and sacrificed much to be able to do so? We can ask ourselves what kind of time to we devote to giving ourselves to Jesus? If we truly reflect on a typical day or a typical week in our lives what would we discover about our faith commitment to Christ?
Today, we can ponder the example of the 3 wise men, these mysterious Kings from the Far East known as the Magi. God called them, as He calls us, by name.
Please note that next Sunday, January 11, is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism at all Masses.Once again, I wish you a Happy and Holy new year of 2015!