“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
Today’s feast is like a second Christmas but with a slight difference. While we celebrated the birth of the baby Jesus on the 25th of December, we are celebrating today the realization that God was born in human flesh.
Today, we celebrate the realisation of the prophecy of Isaiah as contained in our first reading: “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:3). Let us now consider some lessons in today’s readings:
*1. Jesus Christ is King of All Nations*
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul asks: “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” (Romans 3:29-30).
The very fact that Jesus was visited by wise men from the East (non-jews) simply means that He wasn’t born only for the Jewish nation. Jesus is born as the Saviour of the whole World. This is exactly the message that was revealed to St. Paul as he describes in our second reading today: “The Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6).
*2. Every King Has a Star*
The wise men did not have the privilege of having an angel appear to them like in the case of Zechariah or Mary, they probably had no knowledge of the prophets. A star captured their attention and they clearly were able to understand that this star was an indication of the birth of a king; a king whose coming among men cannot be ignored; a king whose very presence requires the necessary adoration and movement of all other kings.
The fact that the star led the wise men to move from their homes reveals that nature is vocal, nature speaks; nature tells us of the wonder of God the creator. The wise men were wise enough to understand that the star was not god to be worshipped but a voice that spoke to them about God.
Like Jesus, each of us has a star; we were born for a purpose. Your life is not and can never be a mistake. Again, just as we all have stars, we are meant to become stars ourselves capable of pointing people to Jesus. There should be something about you that would make The Wise men search for Jesus.
*3. Not All that Glitters is Gold*
The wise men upon getting to the land of Israel assumed there is no better place to find the new King than in the Palace of Herod. This was a mistake on their part. Despite being terrified at the news of another king, Herod was wise enough to consult the chief priests and scribes regarding Christ (the long-awaited Messiah). Herod even helped the wise men by telling them to go to Bethlehem to search for the child but he did so with the wrong motive. This experience teaches us that, not all that glitters is gold.
Also, it shows us that God works in mysterious ways. The palace may seem attractive yet it may not be God’s plan for us. Again, not all those who smile with us mean well. Herod was troubled but he did not show it, he pretended to care about Jesus and told the wise men to report back to him. Herod is an example of a frenemy.
The fact that Herod consulted the Bible in his attempt to understand the visit of The Three Wise men teaches us that in moments of difficulty and anxiety, we can find enlightenment by reading the word of God.
*4. The Gifts and their Meaning*
The wise men upon seeing the child FELL DOWN and WORSHIPPED HIM. Every time we come before Jesus; we are supposed to do exactly what the wise men did. The wise men are called wise because they were able to recognize the divinity of Jesus. No wonder the psalmist says: “Only a fool will say there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1, 53:1)
The wise men brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is Epiphany; a revelation of the identity of Jesus as KING, PRIEST AND SAVIOUR of the world. Jesus had not even started to talk or walk when this happened yet it is clear to the whole world that He is God in human flesh. He rules as King with gold, He sanctifies as a Priest with incense (which we still use today at mass) and as Saviour of mankind, Jesus’ body would be preserved with myrrh when he offers his life for our salvation.
The wise men gave gifts to Jesus because they recognized His Divinity, His Kingship and His Sacrificial role for mankind. The question is: “what kind of gifts do I render to Jesus? And what do my gifts say about Jesus?” Indeed, the best gift we can offer to Jesus today is the gift of a righteous life, a pure heart and hands willing to do God’s commands.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, fill me with light, make me a star directing people to you and may my life itself become my gift to you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 60:1-6, Ps. 72:1-2,7-8,10-13, Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6, Matthew 2:1-12).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu