January 3, 2021 – Epiphany
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12
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.
The Christmas season continues for the first two Sundays in January. On this first Sunday of the New Year, we celebrate Epiphany and the gospel is full of mystery and intrigue. Who are the Magi? And why are they searching for Jesus? King Herod also enters the story and we hear that Herod and all of Jerusalem are troubled by the news of a newborn king of the Jews. Such a contrast to the joy of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and angels as they experienced the birth of this little king.
In this New Year, Jesus will come into our lives in many different ways, in the guise of those we encounter on our daily journeys. How will we greet them? With joy and wonder or with fear and anxiety? Remember, how we greet one another is how we greet Christ present in our world!
The time for resolutions is here. What better way to start the New Year than to resolve to greet each person in our lives with joy, humility and graciousness.