January 5, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

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.

Reflection (Sem. Enrico Terrel):

     This Gospel narrative is about the journey of the wise men from the east in their search and eventual encounter with Jesus, the newborn king of the Jews. Although they are very much wise and knowledgeable about the field of astrology, the magi recognize that there is Someone who is much greater than them that they are willing to embark on a great journey just to find Jesus whom they regard as king. Another striking aspect of this is that they do it with a sincere and noble intention of paying homage to Him. This certainly is contrary to the disposition of King Herod who is greatly troubled upon hearing of the existence of the star that signals the birth of Christ. He would also like to see Jesus but his motivation is very much questionable. Moreover, his initial troubled reaction point to the reality that Herod considers Jesus as a threat to his reign and he would eventually order the killing of the innocent children of Bethlehem when he did not hear again from the magi who departed for their country by another way.

     As citizens of a highly digital and information-driven world, we consider ourselves as knowledgeable about the things such as economics, politics, science, communication and many other fields. However, knowledgeable as we are, it is good to ask ourselves, “do we have the true wisdom and the yearning for Christ who is the Light of the world and the fullness of God’s revelation?” We might have great knowledge and many other things which we consider as treasures. However, apart from Christ, our knowledge and treasures stand for nothing. Apart from Christ, we can never be overjoyed by the things which we focus our gaze into. Christ is the only one whom we ought to search. He is the one whom we should focus our sight on. He is the only one whom we ought to worship. Once we truly find Him, the only path to go is HIS WAY. 

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