Epiphany is often seen as the completion of the Christmas story. The three kings finally arrive in Bethlehem and our Christmas manger scene is now complete with all the figures in place. While this does provide a nice sentimental bookend to the season, in today’s homily I explore five ways in which the message of the magi remains relevant for us today.
1) God will in fact speak to us and give us directions. However, as was the case with the magi, we should not expect huge unavoidable signs. Rather, we should expect God to give us subtle directions, like the astronomical events that that guided the magi.
2) We should expect that, whatever path God asks us to take, it is going to be difficult. The magi had a rough time getting across the wilderness to Jerusalem. Often times the more difficult path is the path God asks us to follow.
3) Be suspicious of following the crowd. In God’s way, the crowd is often wrong and the truth is found by only a small few. The magi were a small group, maybe just three. Still, they recognized the birth of the Messiah while “all Jerusalem” missed it. With God, the minority is often the right place to be.
4) When the magi finally encounter Jesus, the fall down and worship him. They give him their treasures, the very best they have. We are called to do likewise. At every Mass were are in the presence of Jesus. Do we react like the magi, falling down and giving Jesus our very best?
5) Finally, after meeting Jesus, the gospel tells us that they “returned to their own country by another way.” More than just geographical, they returned changed. When we meet Jesus, we can’t go back the same way as if nothing happened.
I pray that this celebration of the Epiphany may inspire you listen carefully for God’s direction and to boldly set out where he calls. May the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist change your life and set you off on a new way, inspired by the example of the magi.