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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Epiphany

1st Reading (Isa 60:1-6): Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 71
R/. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king's son; he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment.

Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute. All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save.
2nd Reading (Eph 3:2-3a.5-6): Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Mt 2,2): Alleluia. We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. Alleluia.

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.