In the gospel of Matthew we read that the Magi “opened their treasures and presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:2).
While praying in chapel and meditating at the Christmas crèche, I began to focus on the journey of these three kings, the Magi, Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. They followed a star, and found the Christ Child with Mary, his Mother. And what were their gifts? Gold, frankincense and myrrh! Gold, an offering given to Jesus declaring him King; frankincense, an offering of reverence for his Word; he who came to fulfill the prophecies of old, the Word who came to dwell among us; and myrrh, a spice used for embalming; for one day Jesus would give his very life for us as a sacrifice, be buried and rise again to new life. These three kings made a journey to find the newborn King. Their words were, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we have observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage?” This is what we do when we rise and go to pray. We go to seek Jesus and to pay him homage.
Pope Francis wrote about the journey of the Magi, he said “That star changed them. It made them leave their daily concerns behind and set out immediately on a journey. They listened to a voice deep within, which led them to follow that light. It was the voice of the Holy Spirit, who works in all people. The star guided them, until they found the King of the Jews in a humble dwelling in Bethlehem.” (Read the full text here.) https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2016/documents/papa-francesco_20160106_omelia-epifania.html
I pray that I too may follow that star, the voice of the Holy Spirit, who will continue to show me the way to offer my gold of respect and worship to Jesus, our King, in prayer; my frankincense that will be a fragrant offering of obeying his word, by accepting the sacrifices that come my way each day, without complaining or being of burden to others; and my myrrh, choosing to accept his mercy for my sins for which he died on the cross.
Yes, the message of Pope Francis regarding a journey brought to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah read during the advent season; “…a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who have a journey to make” (Isaiah 35:8).
I thank God for the gift of the Epiphany at the beginning of this New Year. A reminder that as the three kings of ages past, I too have “a journey to make” along with the other sisters until we meet our Savior and King face to face, Jesus, the Lord.
Again from Pope Francis "We are challenged to go to Bethlehem, to find the Child and his Mother. Let us follow the light which God offers us – that tiny light. The hymn in the breviary poetically tells us that the Magi lumen requirunt lumine – that tiny light. The light which streams from the face of Christ, full of mercy and fidelity. And once we have found him, let us worship him with all our heart, and present him with our gifts: our freedom, our understanding and our love. True wisdom lies concealed in the face of this Child. It is here, in the simplicity of Bethlehem, that the life of the Church is summed up. For here is the wellspring of that light which draws to itself every individual in the world and guides the journey of the peoples along the path of peace."
Sr. Barbara Gerace,fsp