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Liturgical day: Epiphany

Gospel text (Mt 2,1-12): When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, during the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, «Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw the rising of his star in the east and have come to honor him». When Herod heard this he was greatly disturbed and with him all Jerusalem. He immediately called a meeting of all high-ranking priests and those who taught the people of God his Law, and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In the town of Bethlehem in Judea, they told him, for this is what the prophet wrote: «And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the clans of Judah, for from you will come a leader, the one who is to shepherd my people Israel».

Then Herod secretly called the wise men and asked them the precise time the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem with the instruction, «Go and get precise information about the child. As soon as you have found him, report to me, so that I too may go and honor him».

After the meeting with the king, they set out. The star that they had seen in the East went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. The wise men were overjoyed on seeing the star again. They went into the house and when they saw the child with Mary his mother, they knelt and worshipped him. They opened their bags and offered him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. In a dream they were warned not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their home country by another way.

«They went into the house and when they saw the child with Mary his mother, they knelt and worshipped him»

Fr. Joaquim VILLANUEVA i Poll
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the prophet Isaiah encourages us: «Arise, shine, for your light has come. The glory of Yahweh rises upon you» (Is 60:1). The light the prophet has seen is the star which the Three Wise Men see in the East, like many other men. The Magi discover its meaning. Others consider it as something admirable, but that does not affect them. And, so, they do not react. The Three Wise Men realize the fact that, with the star, God is sending them an important message for which it is worthwhile leaving comfort and safety to take on the risks of an uncertain journey: the hope of finding the King leads them to follow the star, which the prophets had spoken of and which the people of Israel had been waiting for centuries.

They arrive in Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jews. They are sure that there they will be shown where the King has been born. Indeed, they will be told: «In the town of Bethlehem in Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote» (Mt 2:5). The news of the arrival of the Magi and their inquiry spreads around Jerusalem in a very short time: Jerusalem was, at that time, a small city and the presence of the Magi with their escort must have been noticed by all its inhabitants, thus «when Herod heard this he was great¬ly disturbed and with him all Jerusalem» (Mt 2:3), the Gospel tells us.

Jesus Christ crosses the paths of the lives of many people who are not interested in Him. A little effort would have changed their lives; they would have found the King of Joy and Peace. This requires a willingness to look for Him, to move around, to ask without losing heart —like the Three Wise Men— to leave our comfort, our routine. It requires an effort to appreciate the immense value of finding Christ. If we do not find Him, we have not found anything in life, because only He is the Savior: finding Jesus is to find the Path that leads us to know the Truth that gives us Life. And without Him, nothing is worthwhile.