Follow the stars in your life for guidance
Based on Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Gospel of Mt 2:1-12
Following yonder star!” It’s the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, and, in the Gospel, we hear about the Magi’s adoration of the Christ Child.
The word “epiphany” means to show forth or to make an appearance. Matthew’s Gospel is the only Gospel that tells of the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child.
Following the star shows the Magi – important, wise and learned men – must have studied the stars. They had noticed a new star in the sky and considered it a sign that a special king had been born. Thus, they began their journey to locate the newborn king.
The Magi were not Jews. It is said they came from “the East,” perhaps from countries such as Arabia, Persia, Babylon or somewhere else east of Palestine. Their long journey was not an easy one. Travel then involved more risks and hardships – going through deserts and over mountains on foot, and often encountering harsh weather, bandits and wild animals along the way.
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, the Magi asked where they could find the newborn king. When Herod, the treacherous king of Judea, heard about this, he was troubled and called the Magi to his palace. He sent them to Bethlehem to search for the child and told them to let him know so he, too, could honor the newborn king.
The star led the Magi to Bethlehem where they found the Child Jesus with Mary and Joseph. It is thought the Magi were kings and were named Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar. Filled with joy and gladness, they knelt in adoration before Jesus and gave him gifts. Melchior brought gold, a costly metal used by kings and a sign of Jesus’ royalty; Caspar brought frankincense, a type of incense that gives off a pleasant smelling smoke and a sign of Jesus’ holiness. Balthasar brought myrrh, a perfumed ointment used to prepare the dead for burial and a sign of Jesus’ humanity and his future suffering and death.
After their visit, the Magi were warned in a dream not to return to Herod’s palace because he lied and was planning to kill Jesus. They went back to their countries by another way to share their excitement and joy of seeing the Christ Child.
The Magi’s visit shows that Jesus, the Light of the world, came to earth out of love for all the peoples of the world.
God also gives us “stars” to follow – parents, family, the church, the Mass, the Scriptures, the saints, the popes, the clergy, religious, teachers, friends and books. They can lead us to Jesus, the Savior of the world, in order to know him and to live our lives radiating his love to others.