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Seekers

Post Date: December 28, 2021
Author: Sacred Heart Blog

A Reflection on the Readings for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Sunday, January 2, 2022

Reading I: Isaiah 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Reading II: Colossians 3:12-21 or 3:12-17 or 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

In the readings for the Epiphany, we hear of the magi or wise men who traveled on a long, slow journey from afar to find the Christ Child. These three Kings, Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar, were most likely traders from the East who first “saw his star at its rising.” They were so enamored with intrigue by this star’s appearance; they left their homeland in ancient Persia to follow it, seeking to pay homage and bestow gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh on a new King of the Jews.

The word Epiphany comes from the Greek word meaning revelation; Pope Francis, in his 2021 Epiphany homily, said, 

“The Liturgy of the Word offers us three phrases that can help us to understand more fully what it means to be worshipers of the Lord. They are: “to lift up our eyes,” “to set out on a journey,” and “to see.” 1 

Go and search diligently for the child….” Matthew 2:8

Does this phrase from the Gospel today beckon us also to journey and seek the way of the magi? 

 Reading about this encounter year after year still draws me to look at all those present at the time of the Christ Child’s birth. As I imagine each of those who came to adore Him at the scene of Christ’s birth, I begin to see what appears to take on the form of a Mass in several ways: 

  • Do we not also seek Christ as we travel to come close to Him in each Mass? He is there humbly, waiting for us even amid the darkness of night, housed in a small tabernacle illuminated in the light of a solitary sanctuary candle. 
  • As Mass begins, we share in the songs of the angels praising him as we enter into the Liturgy of His presence among us. 
  • In the readings, we first hear from Isaiah, the prophet of old, proclaimed in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s birth. In the second reading and Gospel, the presence of the long-awaited Messiah is revealed in the New Testament readings.
  • We, too, open our gifts of treasure, time, and talents to lay before our King and Lord during the collection.  
  • The wise men found the Christ Child in the city of Bethlehem, meaning “Bread.” Similarly, just as these three men knelt in homage, with hearts opened and transformed by the tiny infant before them, we too bow down before the Christ present under the appearance of bread, to receive his precious body, the “Bread of Life.” 
  • I would imagine the magi were speechless, reverently kneeling in awesome wonder to behold the Christ Child. Do we not also enter into the quiet silence of a time-stopping moment to solemnly hold the Christ in our very bodies as He floods our hearts with the overwhelming joy of His sacred presence. Are not our hearts transformed?
  • We leave the Mass, filled with the light of His presence in us, to go out into the darkness and share the good news of Christ. 

SEEK, AND YOU WILL FIND

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  – Matthew 7:7-8

Reflecting on this passage from Matthew, are we actively searching to find Christ in our lives? Are we looking for signs like the magi? Do we open our eyes, minds, and hearts to seek Him? Do we take time to sit before Him in silent wonder and listen? 

Or, do we relate to the words of the prophet Isaiah in the first reading, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick clouds cover the peoples” Do the distractions and illusions of the world prevent us from finding what our hearts truly long for? Are we following stars to power, success, wealth, pleasure, etc.? 

Where is the Christ Child calling you? The wise men found the King where they least expected, yet they knew they had found the Truth they were seeking. 

“To lift up our eyes,” “to set out on a journey,” and “to see” are keys to unlocking a personal revelation and opening the door of your heart to embrace a relationship with the Lord as His disciple. The wise men left by a different route than they came into Bethlehem—their hearts radically changed—could not go back the way they came, so we, too, upon encountering Christ in our lives, will never be the same.

References: 

1. Pope Francis, Epiphany homily, American Magazine, January 6, 2021: The magi teach us that worshiping Jesus is a gradual process. Retrieved from https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2021/01/06/pope-francis-homily-epiphany-worship-magi-239657

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