Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6 Matthew 2:1-12
Only Matthew of the four evangelists tells the story we read in today's gospel. And even Matthew leaves out many details. The gospel does not say how many visitors came. Because the gospel lists three different gifts, Christian imagination has assigned one gift to each of the Magi and given us three.. Your nativity scene at home likely includes a camel or two, also not part of the gospel. We don't even know from the scripture exactly where these Magi came from. The gospel just says "the East. “
Yet in spite of what the gospel does not say we are given some interesting details. Matthew says that the Magi ask King Herod, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? “ And King Herod has to put a research team on it! Something of great interest to these foreigners is happening in his own backyard and he is clueless. Then when his research team gets back to him with the answer, Matthew says Herod shares that information with the Magi “secretly.” It sounds to me like somebody feels threatened and doesn't want his boat rocked.
We see the Magi committed to following the light, seeking the truth wherever it leads though it comes at the cost of a long journey. And we see King Herod afraid of the truth, of the light, of what it might cost him.
Aren't we all a little bit Herod, and a little bit Magi? Most of the time we try to follow Christ, the light of the world, to live a life worthy of his disciple. But when that light reveals a change we need to make, we struggle.
As a new year begins it might be helpful to take some quiet time, to pray for light to see our life more clearly. What can we affirm? Where do we see love of neighbor and works of peace and justice given flesh in our life? Where do we see that we have grown this year? What can we celebrate?
Are there areas where we are called to make a change… something we need to let go of ?… Some habit or practice we are called to develop?
This journey, our life, we do not make alone. The spirit of God accompanies us to give us strength and guidance. And our faith community can be a support and inspiration as we, like the Magi, make our way home.
by: Pat Schnee