Sunday Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12 The Epiphany of the Lord
Let us spend some time with the magi, let us join them in their journey.
"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 the 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 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 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."
POSSIBLE POINTS OF REFLECTION:
- "When Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled and all Jerusalem with him" Herod reacts in a manner common to those who need to be in control of everything and everyone, they become anxious, troubled, and they grasp for pieces of knowledge that gives them "footing" using whatever means it takes, dishonesty...manipulation. Herod was so terrified of a new king being born, he was afraid of a rival for his power. Fear began to propel him in a direction and that direction was in the opposite way from Love- "Love Incarnate". Fear always retracts our hearts from Love. Allowing Love IN! and allowing Love OUT! We cannot "breathe" freely the breath of the Holy Spirit. Herod closed off his heart to receiving LOVE and instead wanted to "kill Love". The rejection of Love, Truth and Goodness is a rejection of Jesus.
- "it has been written" The Word is alive and active, it knows no time, for the Word is not contained in time. God is true to His promises.
- "a ruler, who is to shepherd my people" We are His, we belong to God, and since we are His, He will provide as He did from times past, He will provide for us, He will shepherd us now too, today, 2016.
- "Then Herod called the magi secretly" One can almost see this meeting, held in secret, the magi coming in truth, and the King with secret motives, hidden motives but God works through all things, including ill will. He protects the upright intention of the magi, He guides them not only "in spite" of Herod, but completely through it all. God can and does bring about good in and through all things, because He is Good.
- "Go and search diligently for the child" To find Jesus, we must go-leave ourselves, our selfishness, our comfort, our ease, we must leave where we are at present, in order to find the fullness of His presence, found by those who seek the Lord.
- "they set out" They set out-began the journey, often this place is the very hardest place of all-to gain the incentive, the movement forward, cooperating with the grace of God.
- "they prostrated themselves and did him homage". Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts" Beautiful example from the wise men, of what to do, when we come before the Lord; to humble ourselves, to praise and honor Him and to bring Him the very best of what we have to give Him, and to leave it with Him.
- "they departed for their country by another way" To encounter Jesus Christ, is to never be the same- we are changed, we do not continue the way we came ...we follow a different course.
Small reflection on Sundays Gospel
After reading the passage several times (Lectio) and sleeping on it, something kept coming back to me, it was several images.
(Meditatio): The kings "prostrated themselves". I allowed myself to journey with the magi, watching them as they entered the cave/manger where the Infant Lord is resting close to His Mother. They had been following a star (travelling at night). Night journeys are very different than daytime. You encounter less people, and usually your sense are more "tuned in" because sight is so compromised. (A very true reflection of the spiritual life). The magi bowed down to the ground, face down for a long time, several times bowing. As I watch them, the kings dressed in such fine clothing, with rings and jewels on their hands and heads, are silent in awe, they have no question as to who is the ONE to present their gifts to, they come to the Babe and kneel close with reverence, faith, humility. It is a mystery to behold that "worldly greatness" is bowing to a very small baby who appears very ordinary. I ask myself...WHO IS THIS BABE? it reminds me of hymn from Handel's Oratory the Messiah...who is the king of glory? He Lord of Hosts! They begin to unpack gifts, treasures, which they have travelled with and have packed very carefully. One by one, they unpack these gifts, taking over all the protective layers of cloth, that held the gifts safely during their travels. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. They place them at the feet of the Infant Jesus. The treasures seem to be of great worth, at least to the Kings who are presenting them. As each king places his gift by the Infant Jesus, the other kings wait and reverence Him. The images that come to my mind and heart are: Humility, Praise, Gratitude and an Interior "opening" of one's treasures to the King of Kings. This lead me into conversation with the Babe in the Manger
(Oratio). Infant King, Lord of Lords, My Lord and My God, I come before you, small and weak bearing few gifts of worth, or at least I feel of worth. I adore You , I Love you, I give you praise and thanks for coming for me, You who are Mercy, to redeem me, to restore me, to love me. I love you my Jesus. What gifts, what treasures do I have to give you? what do I have of worth to present to you, to "open before you"? Sitting with Lord, and being with Him, allowing His Love to enter my mind and heart, I understand.
(Contemplatio) my treasures strangely, are my wounds. This is what He wants me to open before Him. He wants my wounds. And what are my wounds? What are your wounds? We all have distinct wounds, that identifies our souls. We hold them close to us. We wrap them up and hide them, protecting them like the kings protected their treasures. This is something Jesus wants. He is a most unusual King, He wants not riches, but our poverty. He wants us to open up the wounds in our hearts, before Him, in His presence of LOVE and Mercy. O Infant Jesus, reign in me, live in me, act in me, love through me. I choose this day, to give Him my poverty, that I may begin rich in Him.