Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12
I was recently invited to bless a renovated house owned by a newlywed couple. They were expecting their first child, a baby girl. Their soon-to-be-born daughter dominated our discussion. Everything – the house decorations, the future plans of the parents, their choice of furniture, food, and beddings, etc. – was centered on the arrival of their baby girl.
Even in our abortion-obsessed times, many still recognize that the birth of a new child calls for new action and new priorities in the life of the family. Imagine the new action demanded by the birth of a baby whose only Father is the eternal God. Imagine the new way of life that the birth of the baby Jesus demands from us who are God’s children. Surely, it just cannot be business as usual.
The magi allowed the birth of the baby Jesus to change their lives and move them to a new action. They abandoned their pagan gods and, though they were not Jews, traveled to a foreign country to worship this Jewish baby, “We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” The magi show us how the birth of the baby Jesus must impact our lives and move us.
Jesus has come looking for us.
The magi look for Jesus and found Him in a manger, “They saw the child with Mary His mother.” They found Him only because Jesus has come looking for us first, “The Son of man has come to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk 19:10).
Are we also looking for Him? Jesus is now available to us. There are no gate fees and we do not need to be vaccinated to have an audience with Him! We too can find Him anywhere and at any time because He has promised us, “Seek and you will find” (Mt 7:7). There is no place or situation in which He is not present and accessible to us.
Jesus has come to stay with us always
The magi came all this way simply to spend time in worship of the baby Jesus. They left their business and family for a few moments of worship of the true God.
Are we also staying with Jesus today? How much time do we devote to personal prayer in His presence? Are we even aware of His presence in our daily life activities? What are we ready to sacrifice so that we can spend quality time with Jesus? How long and how frequently do we stay with Him, pondering His words?
Jesus has come to give us gifts
We know that the magi brought gifts to Jesus – gold, frankincense and myrrh. But they also received the gifts that Jesus offered to them. They received the gift of joy, “They were overjoyed in seeing the star.” They also received the gift of divine guidance as God guided them back home along a different path to avoid the murderous Herod. They brought gifts to Jesus and they also received gifts from Him.
Are we also bringing gifts to Jesus? Are we bringing to Him our love and work? Are we offering to Him our daily sacrifices and prayers? Are we bringing to Him all our beings and all that touches us as well as our loved ones? Are we bringing Him our sins, the main thing that He wants to save us from? Are we also receiving the gifts that He is offering to us – peace, light, strength, hope, etc.?
Jesus has come to gather us together
Notice that the magi came to Jesus as a group. They also tried to inform Herod and his people that they were seeking for the newborn king. They must have brought news of this new baby to their people.
Are we also bringing others to Jesus? Are we content with worshipping Him alone while others do not know about Him or do not care to know about Him? Is our love for others courageous enough to invite them to experience the love of Jesus in the Eucharist or in the sacrament of reconciliation?
Jesus took a risk to come to us
Jesus freely chose to come to a violent world to save us. Herod wanted to kill Him even before He spoke a single word or performed a miracle. The magi also took a great risk to leave the security of their country and to come to a foreign land just to worship the baby Jesus. They risked the hostile stares and ridiculing look of the Israelites as they sought for Jesus.
What risks are we taking today for Jesus? Are we courageous enough to be faithful Catholics in an age of deception and compromise? Are we courageous enough to speak the difficult truths for the sake of Jesus? For the sake of Jesus, are we ready to be different from this world in our thinking, choosing, and acting?
Jesus has come to transform us
The magi were transformed. They who had depended on the guidance of a star to bring them to the manger left the manger as men who were directed interiorly by the spirit of God. Their time of adoration had changed them completely.
Do we approach Jesus with that readiness and willingness to be interiorly transformed by Him? Do we come to Him as we are and allow Him to transform us or do we pretend that we do not need to be transformed? How deep is our desire to be transformed into more Christlike men and women?
Jesus has come to give us His own joy
The magi were doubly joyful as they searched for Jesus and found Him. They experienced that joy of finding the Lord Jesus, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). They showed that joy by offering Him precious and appropriate gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Are we also ready to receive His own joy? Are we ready to forsake the false joys that we pursue that never satisfy us but only increase our desires?
Herod knew about the time and place of birth of the baby Jesus but he did not allow the birth of Jesus to move him or change his life’s priority. He was most likely fixated on preserving his crown. He thus had no joy or peace. He could only spread this joyless spirit to all his subjects, “He was greatly troubled and all Jerusalem with him.” The same thing happens to us if we do not allow the birth of the baby Jesus to impact our lives.
The Eucharist is always an epiphany, a privileged encounter with the baby Jesus who is always born on the altar at Mass. If the birth of this baby changes us and moves us as God intends, nothing can stop us from experiencing the peace and joy of the baby Jesus.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!