January 6, 2013: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. (Matthew 2:1-12)
This is a very interesting story because the persons who wanted to see Jesus were not just ordinary persons, they were magi. Magi is an unusual word, so what does it mean? It means priests who are credited with having more religious knowledge than most people have. This story tells us that they were looking for a special child that they had somehow heard about so they could worship him. Who told them about Jesus we do not know, but perhaps God made Jesus known to them–and through them, made Jesus known to us.
Take a few minutes today to think about these three men, how they knew about Jesus, how they came to worship him as he lay in a manger–a place where cattle usually came to eat!
And think about how unusual it was for such important men to find God in such a lowly place.
So today think about all the unusual places you might find Jesus–in your backyard, in your classroom, in a store, in a movie theater.