CHRISTMAS is over? You’d think so by the world’s standards. The “top forty” has replaced Christmas music; sales signs have replaced ornaments; lights have been dimmed and Christmas trees kicked to the curb. But for us as Catholic Christians, we are still in the midst of a contemplative gaze at the Word who has become flesh—God become man. Or at least, it should be so. We still await the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles, to those Magi who travel from afar to see the Messiah, the one who is to “shepherd” God’s people. This “epiphany” (commemorated this Sunday) is, in fact, the pinnacle of Christmas, because it reveals that Jesus is no longer “just” for the Jews, but for every man, woman and child who wanders in darkness.
And here’s the thing: the Magi were essentially astrologers, men who sought esoteric knowledge in the stars. Even though they didn’t know exactly who they were looking for—that is, their Savior—and their methods were a co-mixture of human and divine wisdom, they nonetheless would find Him. In fact, they were moved by God’s creation, by signs that God himself purposely wrote in the universe to herald His divine plan.
I see him, though not now; I observe him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel. (Num 24:17)
I find so much hope in this. It is as if God is saying through the Magi,
Your vision, knowledge, and religion may not be perfect at this moment; your past and present may be marred by sin; your future clouded by uncertainty… but I recognize that you want to find Me. And so, Here I am. Come to Me all you who are searching for meaning, searching for truth, searching for a shepherd to lead you. Come to Me all you who are weary travelers in this life, and I will give you rest. Come to Me all you who have lost hope, who feel abandoned and discouraged, and you will find Me awaiting you with a loving gaze. For I am Jesus, your Savior, who has come to find you too…
Jesus did not reveal Himself to the perfect. Joseph needed constant guidance through angelic dreams; the shepherds in their smelly work clothes gathered around the manger; and the Magi, of course, were pagans. And then there is you and me. Perhaps you have come through this Christmas distracted by all the food, company, late nights, Boxing Week sales, entertainments, etc. and feel a bit like you’ve “missed” the point of it all. If so, then remind yourself today with the happy truth that Jesus has not gone into the exile of Egypt. No, He is waiting to reveal Himself to you today. He is leaving you “signs” as well (such as this writing) that point to where He is. All that is needed is your desire, your willingness to seek Jesus out. You could pray something like this:
Lord, like the Magi, I have spent a great deal of time wandering about the world, but I do want to find you. Like the shepherds, though, I come with the stains of my sin; like Joseph, I come with fears and reservations; like the innkeeper, I too have not made room for you in my heart as I should have. But I come, nonetheless, because You, Jesus, await me, as I am. And so, I come to beg your forgiveness and to adore you. I come to offer you gold, frankincense and myrrh: that is, the little faith, love, and sacrifices that I have… to give you all that I am, once again. O Jesus, overlook my poverty of spirit, and taking you into my poor arms, take me into Your Heart.
I promise, if you set out like the Magi today with that kind of heart and humility, not only will Jesus accept you, but He will crown you as a son or daughter.“A contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.” (Psalm 51:19) For this He came. For this, He awaits your visit today… for Christmas is never over.
Longing for God shatters our dreary routines and impels us to make the changes we want and need. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily for Solemnity of Epiphany, January 6th, 2016; Zenit.org
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