Epiphany (January 8, 2017)

Have you ever thought what could possibly have possessed very wise men to leave their homes and undertake a long, hard desert journey?

What was so special about this new “king of the Jews”? Everyone knew that Israel was under Roman occupation. Any Jewish king would be a mere puppet of the emperor. Why would news of a powerless king in a faraway land be so attractive? Perhaps the Holy Spirit was moving them, touching a sense of longing and hope and compelling them to investigate. These wise men, astrologers and interpreters of dreams, clearly believed that they were being led to someone extraordinary.

What must have happened when they arrived where Joseph, Mary and the child were staying? Did they simply present their gifts and then hurry back to the East? I would imagine they stayed for a little while asking Joseph and Mary lots of questions, trying to find out what all these signs were about.

And Mary and Joseph had plenty of extraordinary happenings to tell them about – angels visiting, dreams, Scriptures foretelling their arrival. Even their gifts had been foretold. These men must have been thrilled to know that the longing in their hearts could be fulfilled in this little child! Mary and Joseph evangelized these wise men from the East.

Every one of us longs for a sense of meaning and purpose. All around us people are starving for answers, and the Holy Spirit may want to direct them to us, just as he directed the wise men to Mary and Joseph and the child. Like Joseph and Mary, all we have to do is share with them the ways that God has moved in us, the ways that God has shown us divine love. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

As we begin a new year and celebrate the coming of the wise men to the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, let us reflect on the gifts we have received from our loving God - gifts far more valuable than gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then we will be well prepared for whoever may show up at our door this year.