The Solemnity of the Epiphany - January 6th
While reading once again the familiar account of the journey of the three Magi, it struck me that their last stage of their journey was their shortest, but was too long for Herod and the Jews because they lacked faith.
Having travelled hundreds of miles across the wilderness of the Middle East, the distance for the Magi from Herod’s palace to the lowly manger in Bethlehem was only 6 miles. Yet it is not recorded if any of the scribes or Pharisees bothered themselves to make the journey for themselves. They had the requisite knowledge, but not wisdom. Herod was too proud and sceptical to go there. But the Magi did go there and fell on their knees; and their faith was rewarded.
There were four stages to their journey –
Firstly, based on their human calculations and assisted by the star but also on their wits and logic, yet somehow still unsure, they made their way to the place where an earthly king could be expected to be found – in Jerusalem.
Secondly, based on the accumulated and collective wisdom and Revelation to the Jews, they made their way - correctly - to Bethlehem.
Thirdly, they fell down and worshipped Christ – the Messiah and the King of Kings, seen with Mary His Mother. They offered what they had.
Fourthly, they were guided by divine intervention in a dream, and made their way home by a different, safer route.
This journey of faith, hope, and expectation of the Magi is our journey too and an example to each Christian.
The Magi remind us that we too make our way through life amidst uncertainty, unsure of what lies ahead in the future. They crossed the wilderness, and eventually through their own perseverance and with the right guidance, they found Christ, the goal of their quest and long searching.
We are often left uncertain and anxious of the road ahead, but like the Magi, our journey is marked out for us. The star was not there for them at all times to guide them continuously, but arose again when they were near their goal. They availed of the wisdom of the Jews. The Old Testament - and the New Testament Revelation - the Word of God - is at our disposal.
We know that Christ will guide us but He respects our free-will and expects us to make an effort by ourselves to persevere and not give up in prayer.
We encounter Christ in the sacraments – and adore Him, falling on our knees in the Eucharist. The more time and sacrifice (required of us) in our efforts to give honour, praise and adoration in the Eucharist, and the more we offer ourselves and our lives to Him and His will, the more freely He acts in us and guides us to where He wants us to go. His will becomes clearer to us in proportion to prayerful, persevering effort in prayer.
The Magi’s journey home was far more secure and certain after their encounter with Christ and His Mother. Jesus, with Mary also, can guarantee us safety and right direction as we continue the earthly pilgrimage to our heavenly home.
May we be truly wise and may Jesus and Mary be with us every step of the way in 2011.
Posted by FrJohnCobh