Gospel: (Matthew 2:1-12)
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem in 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. …Herod sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child…” 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.
The three Magi from the east must have been men of means; they traveled a long distance to find the “newborn King of the Jews” and to offer him precious gifts, trusting in only the star’s guidance. They must also have recognized the prior generosity of God, for their initial response in finding the Child was to “do him homage.” The symbolic meaning of their treasures is: giving the gold was a response of sharing their possessions; giving the frankincense was a response of reverence and gratitude for God’s gifts to them; giving the myrrh was a response of sharing of obedience in following God’s revelation in the star. (Living Liturgy, p.32)
The Magi came to worship the newborn king. Are we capable of that ourselves? Are we willing to bow down before the Lord and pay him homage? Are we able to make Christ the absolute center of our lives? Or do we clutch alien gods as Herod did? These are manifold: power, popularity, security, comfort, only to name a few. Most such gods are reflections of our inner selves. They mirror forth our own desire to be the center of the universe. Unlike Herod, the Magi bowed down before the Lord and worshiped him. May we also bow down before him in the person of the poor, who are—in a phrase we use so often that it can easily lose its meaning—our “Lords and Masters” as Vincent said.
(Maloney, Go! On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, p. 81)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
How can we better serve “our Lords and Masters” the poor?
O Lord, bring light to the darkness as we search for you,
-Let your light shine upon us.
As the Magi bowed down in homage,
-May you be the absolute center of our lives.
May we, like the Magi, offer you our gifts each day,
-As we discover you in the lives of the poor. Amen