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Tag Archives: THE MAGI

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

When the Magi returned home – much to everybody’s surprise – they were probably ridiculed. After all, what did they find in Herod’s land? A child and his mother? Was that their big discovery? Were there no children and mothers in their own country? How crazy can you get?

Nonetheless, to a person with the eyes of faith, the Magi had discovered an immense secret. They found not only the secret of the star, but the secret of the whole universe – the secret of God’s incredible love for His people. For the child they found was no ordinary child but the very Son of God became man.

And what they brought back from their adventure was not material wealth, or art treasures or scientific technology, but the light, joy and peace that only God can give.

Prayer: On this day, Lord God, by a guding star You revealed Your Only-begotten Son to all the peoples of the world. Lead us from the faith by which we know You now to the vision of Your glory, face to face. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 7 January 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on January 7, 2018 in READ & PRAY

 

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THE MANIFESTATION TO THE GENTILES

THE MANIFESTATION TO THE GENTILES

(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday, 4 January 2015)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6 

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The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern My people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared, and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-12 RSV)  

wiseToday’s feast, also known as “the Manifestation to the Gentiles” celebrates the call of Gentiles, or non-Israelites, to salvation. Many first-century Jews were eagerly awaiting a Messiah who would deliver them from foreign oppression and reestablish Israel as God’s dwelling place. But Jesus did not come to deliver His people from political bondage. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In Jesus, the Father set out to create one universal Church encompassing men and women of every nation.

This is where the magi come in, the first Gentiles to whom Jesus was made manifest. They came seeking the “king of the Jews”, but found the King of the universe instead!

And who were these magi? They probably were not kings, but astrologers – similar to today’s New Agers and zodiac readers. These “wise men” were wise in that they were searching for truth and undertook a long and arduous journey just to find it. And when they found Jesus, who is truth incarnate, they bowed down in worship – the surest sign of wisdom.

Just as Jesus at His birth drew wise men from afar, so today He draws people of all backgrounds to Himself. People all over the world, whether consciously or unconsciously, are searching for the truth and life found in Jesus. There is not one person, no matter how far from the truth they seem, to whom Jesus does not want to manifest His presence and love.

Let’s commit ourselves to praying that people of every religious and cultural background come to know salvation and the fullness of life that God offers them through Jesus. Let’s pray for those who are sincerely seeking the truth, especially those who seem to be looking in the wrong places. Let’s ask God for the wisdom to recognize those people with whom He wants us to share His light and love. As Saint John Paul II once encouraged, let us be like that star that guides others to the light of Christ, “so that individuals and peoples in search of truth, justice, and peace may come to Jesus, the one Savior of the world”. 

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing that Your plan of salvation is meant for everyone, including myself. Help all those who are searching for You to find the light of truth in Your Son Jesus. Amen.

Jakarta, 1 January 2015 [Mary, Mother of God] 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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EPIPHANY

EPIPHANY

(A biblical reflection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday, 5 January 2014)

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First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6; Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12  

We believe that Jesus Christ was truly human and divine. 

The liturgy of Christmas up to this point has emphasized the humanity of Jesus. We were drawn in mind to see the helpless infant in the crib. Saint Luke stressed the human themes of poverty and humility through the Christmas story. Then we were taken forward some years to reflect on the Holy Family at Nazareth. These were the hidden years when Jesus was so ordinarily human that those who knew Him at Nazareth would not accept Him later as a preacher. 

The Epiphany, by contrast, emphasizes the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Greek word, epiphany, could be applied to the triumphant entry of a king into a town to the cheers of public acclaim. Nowadays we might think of the victorious team bringing home the cup to the strains of the local bands, the mayor reading the citation of greatness and the cheering thousands responding in thunderous acclamation. 

As the Gospels tell the human story of the ministry of Jesus, the theme of His divinity constantly works its way into the narrative. There are several episodes which specifically manifest His divine power and glory. Technically these are called epiphany stories: epiphany here meaning the outward showing of the inner, divine greatness. 

Remember the day on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured in awesome light. And the day of His baptism when the voice from heaven testified to His identity as the Beloved Son of the Father. His miracles also manifested the power of Jesus. The story of the miracle at the wedding at Cana was developed by John unto this conclusion: “He let His glory be seen, and His disciple believed in Him” (John 2:11). 

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The event we most associate with epiphany is today’s story of the coming of the wise men who knelt in homage before the infant King and offered appropriate, symbolic gifts. This story is like a summary of the entire life of Jesus. His birth was like a new star rising in the skies to guide people on their pilgrimage of life. He was recognized and followed by all who genuinely sought wisdom. But many of His own nation rejected Him for various reasons. 

The political leaders of the Jews, represented by Herod and the Jerusalem set, were perturbed. They felt threatened by a Child. The chief priests and scribes had access to all the right texts. But they stayed there peering into their texts and did not step out on the road of faith. The wise men, however, continued their journey forward. They found the house and went into it. 

It represents the house of faith. 

The gift of gold expressed the inner significance of kingship; the use of incense was an outer manifestation of priesthood; and myrrh suggested the Messiah as the Suffering Servant. 

At the time of his writing Matthew had seen how the Jews had by and large rejected the Christian preachers. But the gentile nations had come forward to belief and were entering the house of faith, the Church. That was something which thrilled the heart of Saint Paul. In today’s second reading he rejoices that “the pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are part of the same body, and that the same promise is made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the Gospel” (Ephesians 3:5-6). 

The epiphany stories are rich in their inner significance. The outer details of the stories point to the mystery of divinity hidden in Jesus Christ. The feast of the Epiphany celebrated His divinity and call on all people to follow His star and to walk in His light. 

O Light of God, rising for us at the birth of Jesus, shine power fully through the darkness of this age and guide us in the ways of wisdom. 

O Light of God, resplendent in the teaching of Jesus, may we grow in faith and experience the delight of walking in your paths. 

O Light of God, implanted in our hearts by the Spirit of Jesus, may we experience what it is to fall on our knees in adoration. 

Note: Note: Taken from Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap, THE GOOD NEWS OF MATTHEW’S YEAR, Dublin, Ireland: Cathedral Books, pages 41-43. 

Jakarta, 5th of January 2014  

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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TO SEE JESUS IN A NEW WAY

TO SEE JESUS IN A NEW WAY

(A biblical reflection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday, 5 January 2014)

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6 

The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern My people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared, and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-12 RSV)  

So great was the incarnation of the Son of God that even the inanimate creation bore witness to the event. A brilliant new star appeared in the night sky, signaling the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Savior who would establish His Kingdom on earth.

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So momentous, too, was the coming of God among women and men that astrologers from the East – pagans who stood outside of the covenants of Israel – were moved to seek out this new King. Although they could not fully grasp whagt had taken place in the birth of this Boy to a simple Galilean couple, by some mysterious gift of faith, the wise men recognized His authority and knelt down and worshipped Him. The humble setting of the home and the simple humility of the parents shrouded the Child’s royalty, yet these men grasped the truth and “were overwhelmed with joy” to have found Him (Matthew 2:10-11),

Today is a perfect opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit to open our eyes so that we can see Jesus in a new way. He is no longer a simple little Child. He is the One who lived and earthly life, suffered, died, rose again, and now reigns at the right hand of God in glory and majesty. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He has poured out His Spirit to give us a deep revelation of Him, so that we too might bow down and worship Him.

Jesus taught us, “Seek, and you shall find” (Matthew 7:7). The wise men certainly experienced the truth of these words! They sought the meaning of the star, and God guided them to Jesus. Let us dedicate ourselves to seeking Jesus daily and listening for the Holy Spirit as seriously as the wise men did. Then, like these wise men, we too will become “overwhelmed with joy” because we will have seen Jesus for who He truly is.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. I place myself under Your authority. I bow down and worship and adore You today. Come, Holy Spirit, and reveal Jesus to me. Amen.

Jakarta, 4th of January 2014 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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STORY OF RABBIT AND EPIPHANY

STORY OF RABBIT AND EPIPHANY

 (A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday – 6 January 2013) 

First Reading: Is 60:1-6; Psalms: Ps 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Eph 3:2-3,5-6; Gospel Reading: Mt 2:1-12 

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IN ancient literature there is a whole body of stories arising out the experiences of early Christian hermits in the deserts of Egypt.

In one such story, a young man aspiring to holiness, visits the hermitage of a pious old man who had lived in the desert for many years.

The young man asks the wise, old hermit, “Why is it that some men come into the desert, pray zealously, and yet leave after a short time, while others like yourself, remain on their spiritual journey for a lifetime?”

The old man smiles and says, “Let me tell you a story. One day as I was sitting here quietly with my dog, a large rabbit suddenly ran past us. My dog immediately jumped up barking loudly, and gave chase to the rabbit.

He chased the rabbit over the sand dunes with much determination. Soon other dogs, attracted by his barkings, joined him.

What a sight it was as the pack of dogs gave chase to the rabbit. Slowly, however, they began to drop out, one-by-one, until only my dog persevered to the end.”

“In that sorry is the answer to your question,” says the wise hermit.

The young man sits in confused silence. “Sir, I do not understand,” he asked. “What is the connection between the rabbit chase and the pursuit of holiness?”

To which the old man replies, “Those dogs who dropped out of the chase did so because they had not seen the rabbit! Only my dog had seen the rabbit.”

During the rush hours of the Christmas season, many of us followed the crowd with a frenzied urgency. We went around in circles in shopping malls.

Our body adrenalins kept flowing high. We followed each other through the rituals, customs and tradition.

And then when the festive celebration was over and all the gifts were exchanged and opened, we dropped out one-by-one from sheer exhaustion. Sad to say, for many of us that was Christmas.

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Epiphany of feast of the Magi. (Note that Scripture tells us that they were not kings but “magi” meaning wise men or astrologers).

When we reflect on their story, we must remember that the star was up there for everyone to see. But the magi were open-minded and humble.

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote: “Only two classes of people found Him: the Shepherds and the Wise Men – those who know they know little, and those who know they do not know everything; never the man who thinks he knows.”

Scripture scholars cannot determine with precision which star shone with such particular brilliance at Jesus’ birth, however the important lesson of the episode is the those “Wise Men from the East” (Mt 2:1) had seen it, read its meaning and followed it. “We have seen His star and have come to worship Him” (Mt 2:2).

The star of Bethlehem was there for us to see, but did we miss it because our eyes were narrowly focused on many other things?

For lack of vision, did we fail to grasp the meaning of Christmas for our lives? For lack of vision, did we fail to experience the unique Presence of God in our Christmas celebrations?

It has been said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is true for any government, for any organization, for any individual.

There has to be a vision guiding us to our destination. We need to pause occasionally to evaluate and renew our lives, in the context of our original vision.

Where is my life heading to? Is it going in circles? Have I been faithful to my vows as a married person, as a religious? Is our government, our organization moving forward towards a clear definite goal?

Without a clear vision we – like the dogs in the story – will grow weary and tired.

Not seeing the “rabbit,” we dropped out.

Note: Taken from Fr. Bel San Luis SVD, WORD ALIVE – REFLECTIONS ON THE SUNDAY GOSPEL C CYCLE 1998,  Manila, the Philippines: LOGOS PUBLICATIONS, INC., 1974, pages 15-17. 

Jakarta, 6 January 2013 

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE MANIFESTATION TO THE GENTILES

THE MANIFESTATION TO THE GENTILES

(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday – 6 January 2013) 

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 

First Reading: Is 60:1-6; Psalms: Ps 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Eph 3:2-3,5-6 

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The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern My people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared, and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh (Mt 2:1-12 RSV). 

Today’s feast, also known as “the Manifestation to the Gentiles,” celebrates the call of Gentiles, or non Israelites, to salvation. Many first century Jews were eagerly awaiting a Messiah who would deliver them from foreign oppression and reestablish Israel as God’s dwelling place. But Jesus did not come to deliver His people from political bondage. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Mt 2:21). In Jesus, the Father set out to create one universal Church encompassing women and men of every nation.

This is where the magi come in, the first Gentiles to whom Jesus was made manifest. They came seeking the “King of the Jews,” but found the King of the universe instead! And who were these magi? They probably were not kings, but astronomers and astrologers combined together. They were experts in “stars” as well very good zodiac readers. These “wise men” were wise in that they were searching for truth and undertook a long and arduous journey just to find it.  An when they found Jesus, who is truth incarnate, they bowed down in worship – the surest sign of wisdom.

301006Just as Jesus at His birth drew wise men from afar, so today He draws people of all backgrounds to Himself. People all over the world, whether consciously or unconsciously, are searching for the truth and life found in the person of Jesus. There is not one person, no matter how far from the truth they seem, to whom Jesus does not want to manifest His presence and love.

So, let us commit ourselves to praying that people of every religious and cultural background come to know salvation and experience the fullness of life that God offers them through Jesus. Let us pray for those who are sincerely seeking the truth, especially those who seem to be looking in the wrong places. Let us ask God for the wisdom to recognize those people with whom He wants us to share His light and love. As the late Pope John Paul II once encouraged, let us be like that star that guides other s to the light of Christ, “so that individuals and peoples in search of truth, justice, and peace may come to Jesus, the one Savior of the world.”

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing that Your plan of salvation is meant for everyone, including myself. Help all those who are searching for You to find the light of truth in Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Jakarta, 4 January 2013

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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