In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.
Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Many of us are traveling this holiday season. Some use GPS navigation systems and Google maps, but I prefer the long, skinny booklets of my youth called “AAA Triptiks.” Triptiks contained routes highlighted in magic marker. My favorite parts, however, were the sidenotes, which warned of obstructions and offered helpful hints along the way.
After reading today’s gospel, I wonder what sidenotes a Triptik might offer the Magi and those of us who follow after. Here are some possibilities:
–Pay attention. Watch for the stars and other markers around you, as well as the movements within you.
–Set out although the destination is a long way off. Set out even if you aren’t sure what the destination is.
–Don’t go it alone. Seek good company for the road.
–Sometimes you may feel lost, frustrated, homesick, exhausted. Sometimes you may start to doubt the wisdom that guides you. Keep going anyway.
–You have many gifts. Offer them.
–Cross boundaries. Leave behind the worn-out ways and places that no longer serve. Enter into new country.
–Be alert to forces that deceive and cause harm. When prudence dictates, change course.
–Welcome strangers. Welcome foreigners. Welcome the new person you are becoming, the new family, new community, and the new world forming.
–When you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way, this is an epiphany. Bow down before the holy. Lie prostrate, do homage. Pray.
–Let yourself be overjoyed. Don’t hold back.
–Come home a different way.
—Mary Anne Reese is an attorney, poet, and member of Bellarmine Chapel, a Jesuit parish in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dear God, Give us the faith of the Magi, who left their homelands and all that they knew to search for Christ. Light our path to the stable, and bring us joy. Help us to find Christ especially among those who are small, helpless, and living in poverty, and draw us to use our gifts to alleviate suffering. Amen.
—Mary Anne Reese
Please share the Good Word with your friends!