When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
If one phenomenon marks our modern world, it’s instant communication. The message you’re listening to is just one way we interact at the speed of light. Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman, and this is the “Sunday Soundbite” for the Feast of the Epiphany.
I sat at a computer to write this short reflection, and then someone took it—via the Internet—to edit and prepare so that it might be heard on our Web site or over the radio waves. If you wish, you could download the very text I originally typed. I still marvel at all the ways we can communicate today.
Today’s feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is a feast that celebrates communication. The Gospel we read today portrays Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, revealed to the nations, as the wise men arrive to pay him homage. Whatever the historical facts behind the story, the message of faith is that God is reaching out to us, communicating to us the Word Made Flesh. That’s communication that has transformed human history.
God’s revelation in Jesus has a power surpassing all our modern technological “miracles,” because it speaks to our hearts. Are we listening? Are we open to the Word?
Let’s become modern channels of God’s communication to the world in this new year, using our gifts—whatever they may be—to pass on the message of the Good News, that Love is born in our midst.
To whom did Isaiah address the verses in this week’s first reading (Is 60:1-6)?
What is the main image of these verses?
Isaiah sees the people Israel as receiving gifts from the wealth of all the nations, carried by caravans of camels. Does your home crib have a camel or two?
The second reading (Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6), from the letter to the Ephesians, talks about God’s plan and the grace that Paul received for the benefit of all. Who does Paul especially mention in this reading?
What is the revelation?
According to the Gospel (Mt 2:1-12), who arrived in Jerusalem around the time of the birth of Jesus?
What did the magi want to know?
Where did King Herod send them?
Earlier this month, the “Christmas star” appeared for the first time in nearly 400 years. If you didn’t get a chance to see it at the time, find some pictures online and read about what caused it. (Hint: It’s not really a star.)
If you were going to visit a newborn baby, what types of gifts would you bring? Do some extra chores or jobs to earn money and then buy some of those items and deliver them to a local pregnancy center that helps mothers in need. You might also consider asking others to help you and take up a collection of items.