The newborn King of the Jews was announced by strangers who followed a star
Reflections on the readings for the Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2019): IS 60:1-6; PS 72:1-2,7-8,10-11,12-13; EPH 3:2-3,5-6; MT 2:1-12
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As with Christmas, our thoughts turn to Bethlehem on this feast of the Epiphany.
On Christmas, we rejoiced in the birth of the Son of God. Today we celebrate the day He was acclaimed king of the Jews – by strangers, Gentiles. The magi set out by following a star, but as they came closer to their destination, they went to the palace of King Herod in Jerusalem to learn exactly where to seek the newborn king. The chief priests and scribes announced: “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” (Matthew 2:5-6). The Magi then continued on their way to pay homage to the Holy Child.
The wise men did not know whom they would find at their journey’s end. It must have taken courage and faith to let themselves be guided by a star to a distant land. Yet the magi knew that something significant was happening in the world. Many countries had kings, but for these men the birth of Christ was important enough to leave their daily lives behind in order to honor a baby. They might have thought they would find Him in a palace; it could hardly have occurred to them that He would have been born in a stable. But they did not hesitate to kneel before the new King they sought and offer their gifts. Whatever their thoughts and feelings, the magi must have realized that God had shared a miracle with them – maybe even one that would change the world forever. It must certainly have changed them. Let us allow the beauty and holiness of this Epiphany to change our hearts as well.