SUNDAY BREAKFAST WITH THE WORD
The Manifestation of the Child Jesus
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
“Epiphany” means manifestation. “Epiphany of the Lord” is Jesus’ manifestation not only to these three Magi from the East, but also a symbolic but real manifestation of the Christ to the whole world. These Magi, traveling from a foreign and non-Jewish nation, reveal that Jesus came for all people and all are called to adore Him. God used what they were familiar with to call them to adore the Christ. He used a star. They understood the stars and when they saw this new and unique star over Bethlehem, they realized that something special was happening. The first lesson we take from this is that God can use what is familiar to us to call us to Himself. Look for the “star” that God is using to call you. It is closer than we may think. He continually manifests himself in things we see. The magi were able to read meaning into this manifestation and then proceeded to find out who is truly this great king that was born. This is a call to sometimes read meaning into many things that are happening around us, they may be ways God is bringing us to Him.
The Jerusalem Journey
To find the new born king, the wise men came to Jerusalem”. They came to Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is the capital city and the capital city is the logical place to look for a king. But the star led them to an unknown and belittled city, in the least of all the tribes, the city of Bethlehem. Remember the origin of King David. He served as a shepherd, a lowly occupation. When Samuel asked Jesse, David’s father, to bring his sons so that Samuel might determine which one God had chosen to be king, Jesse did not even think to include David, his youngest. It was only when Samuel had disqualified the other sons that Jesse sent for David. But he became Israel’s greatest king. Humble beginnings sometimes have a great end! Now this humble town gives Israel its Messiah. God can locate you wherever you are and may use the things or the people we see as little or nothing to bless us after. Our thoughts are not the same with God. God can locate you anywhere you are. Sometimes where we think our blessings are or where we think we can make it, where we think our help will come from may not be necessarily true. Sometimes that thing, that work, and place we underrate maybe where God is preparing to bless us. God has a way of doing His own thing.
The Herod’s Way
This event happened in the days of Herod the Great. Herod the Great was a truly great king. He built the Temple but was genuinely paranoid, murdering rivals, real or imagined. “He murdered his wife, Mariamne, and massacred the Innocents (Mathew 2:16-18). After hearing from the wise men about the new born king, Herod asked them to report back that He may also go and worship him, hiding his true intention, but despite that, God knows everything even the hidden things in our hearts. This I call the Herod’s way which is glaring in our own time. There are so many Herods around us who pretend to be good but evil at heart. They will laugh with you but truly they are not, they will pretend to help but truly they are not. Despite all these, God is still God. He knows everything we have been harboring in our hearts. Let us always depend on God who knows the deepest thoughts of men. It is only God that can expose such Herods as He exposed the intentions of the Herod in the time of Jesus.
Eager to Worship
When the wise men saw the star, they travelled all the way from the east not just to see, nor to snap pictures but to pay Him Homage and as well bear witness to the identity of the New Born child. Remember some scholars see them as kings. But their intention was not to identify with the child as their fellow king. Their intention was made known when they met Herod and told him of their intention to go and worship the new born king, a sign of humility. How many of us who are wealthy and rich can possess such humility to go before God these days just to worship? How many times has God done things beyond our marvels yet we do not have time for Him? These wise men traveled from a far distance just to worship a child. Many of us see themselves as even superior than God Himself. How many have their churches even just a stone throw to their residence but unwilling to join in giving glory to God who gives them life every day. Can we imitate these wise men? The wise men made effort to seek and find the new born king, what effort do we make to find Jesus again in our lives. If we seek Him, we will find Him. How eager are we to worship Him? The Magi fell prostrate before the Child. They laid their lives down before Him in complete surrender and adoration. They set a perfect example for us. If these astrologers from a foreign land could come and adore Christ in such a profound way, we must do the same. Adore Him with a complete surrender of your life.
Lastly, the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh” The gifts seem odd for a baby. We expect baby clothes and toys. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, however is revealing the identity of Jesus and his future. Gold is a gift fit for a king. Frankincense is used in temple worship (Exodus 30:34), a gift fit for a priest. The high priest uses myrrh as an anointing oil (Exodus 30:23). It is also used to prepare bodies for burial, and Nicodemus will bring a mixture of aloe and myrrh to prepare Jesus’ body for burial (John 19:39-40). Thus, their adoration is grounded in the truths of who this Child is. He is a King and thereby supreme over all things and over all conditions. He is a priest, a mediator between us and God. He is one anointed by God, a fulfillment of the words spoken by the prophets, who is to save us through His death and suffering.
There are so many other lessons to be derived from these manifestations, but the pointer still remains that as God used the star an ordinary event to point the magi to Jesus, God also uses many ordinary events to point us continually to Jesus. The wise men responded to this revelation and made effort to find the messiah, a lesson for all to make concrete efforts to respond to God and make ourselves available to Jesus and with whatever we have, and whoever we are. God used the gentiles to tell the world about His son, and not the Jews, not even those living around Jerusalem and indication that God does not look at your background, He can use anyone. Our response makes the difference.
May God bless you beloved as we continually meditate on this mystery of our redemption. Amen. Happy Sunday.
Fr. Sanctus Mario