Sunday, January 5, 2014

“The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

“But the Lord knows full well that giving is a vital need for those in love, and he himself points out what he desires from us. He does not care for riches, nor for the fruits or the beasts of the earth, nor for the sea or the air, because they all belong to him. He wants something intimate, which we have to give him freely: “My son, give me your heart” (Prov 22:26). Do you see? God is not satisfied with sharing. He wants it all. It’s not our things he wants. It is ourselves. It is only when we give ourselves that we can offer other gifts to our Lord.”  - St Josemaria Escriva

Gospel Text: (MT 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.

On the Feast of Christmas God came to us and gifted us. On the Feast of the Epiphany, which we celebrate today, we came to God and gifted God.

According to tradition, the three wise men, were named Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. Each of them came from a different culture: Melchior was Asian, Balthazar was Persian and Gaspar was Ethopian, thus representing the three races known to the old world. These three priest-kings and wisemen brought royal gifts to the divine infant: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The three men or Kings as they are sometimes known as, left everything behind them – they left their country of origin, their wealth, their families. They somehow knew that the star that recently glowed in the sky foretold the birth of a mighty King, a special person, someone destined to be great. And so they were willing to make the perilous journey.

What can we see of this in our lives today? Like the wise men we are on a journey as well. And if we are to have happy, fulfilled lives, we have to know the end of that journey. We have to see the star that tells us that our God is at the end of that journey waiting for us, and maybe not in the way we even imagine it. If we keep that end in sight, we can put up with the perilous journey that we take through life, the ups and downs, the suffering and sickness, and even the sins that we sometimes sink into.

How do we keep going? What sustains us through all the bad parts of life?

It is knowing what the end will be and how we can give God the gift of ourselves – our love, our praise, our sufferings.

No matter who we are, or where we come from, or what we do: each of us has a treasure to offer. The magi were just the first. They aren’t the last…………………….!

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