A King for everyone
The Epiphany of the Lord: Mt 2:1-12
1 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterwards, some men who studied the stars came from the east to Jerusalem
2 and asked, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard about this, he was very upset, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem.
4 He called together all the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and asked them, “Where will the Messiah be born?”
5 “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they answered. “For this is what the
6 ‘Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least of the leading cities of Judah; for from you will come a leader who will guide my people Israel.’ ”
7 So Herod called the visitors from the east to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem with these instructions: “Go and make a careful search for the child, and when you find him, let me know, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9-10 And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the east. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
11 They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and presented them to him.
12 Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.
Other readings: Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Eph 3:2-3, 5-6
Today’s narrative focuses on Jesus, Herod and “some men who studied the stars”, or Magi, after the term in the Greek text. The fact that these men came from a distant country was another indication of the worldwide significance of Jesus’s birth.
The Magi follow a new star that had appeared in the sky and arrive in Jerusalem, the seat of power for the Jews in Israel. They must have been disappointed not to find the new king there.
As they make their enquiries about this new king, people are upset. Every Jew knows that Herod would deal ruthlessly with any threat to his rule.
Herod is anxious about the Magi’s search too. He takes advice from the religious leaders. The Scriptures pointed towards
the Messiah, a descendant of King David, being born in David’s home town, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2).
Herod invites the Magi to a secret meeting so he can learn more about the threat and tells them to report back to him after they have found the young child.
Once the Magi set out on the last stage of their journey, the star guides them again. They are full of joy. The star leads them right to Jesus, where they kneel down, worship him and present their gifts.
God knows Herod’s true intentions, so he warns the Magi not to return to Herod but to go home by another route.
How did you find Jesus? What helped guide you to him? Did God use other people that you didn’t expect?
In what ways is Jesus your leader and guide? Think about the different ways you can worship Jesus. What “gifts” can you offer him today?
God made use of the Magi’s study of the stars to lead them to Jesus. Look back at the ways God led you to Jesus and how he has guided you through your life. Thank him for each step. Now ask God about the year ahead. What priorities does he want you to set? Lay your plans and hopes before him in prayer. Ask him to guide you to do what pleases him.
The liturgy comments upon the mystery of the Incarnation in Isaiah 60:1-6 and Ephesians 3:2-6. Spend some time reflecting on these texts and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus to you.
Lectio Divina is an ancient tradition of reading and engaging with God’s Word
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