The Epiphany of the Lord • The Bible has two separate infancy narratives of Jesus: Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. Luke's shepherds are poor Jews of ill repute. Matthew's magi are the upper crust of the Persian-Chaldean culture. Gentiles, rich, highly educated and esteemed -- the polar opposite of Jewish shepherds. They show us that the Christ Child is a gift to all peoples.
The magi were a kind of priestly class who gazed at the stars and teased out the secrets of the universe, much like scientists do today. Their study of the natural world pointed them to the infant King. Science gets them in the neighborhood, but in order to meet him they have to turn to Divine revelation.
The three gifts that they lay at the feet of the Child reveal to us secrets about his identity: gold for the true King, frankincense for the true God, and myrrh for the perfect Sacrifice.
You, too, are a gift, and you have gifts for Jesus. You give him your gold when you are a wise and generous steward of your material possessions. Your worship at Sunday Mass and your prayers are like incense. Your daily crosses and sacrifices are like myrrh. When we give our gifts to Jesus, we receive Him in return, and we are changed by the gift.
(2 Jan 2022)
Going Deeper: Many of us will return to work this week. How can you see your treasures and sufferings as an opportunity to give generously to God?
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