8 January 2017
Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth
and darkness the peoples.
Above you the Lord now rises
and above you his glory appears.
The nations come to your light
and kings to your dawning brightness.
Lift up your eyes and look round:
all are assembling and coming towards you,
your sons from far away
and your daughters being tenderly carried.
At this sight you will grow radiant,
your heart throbbing and full;
since the riches of the sea will flow to you,
the wealth of the nations come to you;
camels in throngs will cover you,
and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
everyone in Sheba will come,
bringing gold and incense
and singing the praise of the Lord.
You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.
After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
for out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.
“Where is the infant king of the Jews?”
The story of the three wise men in the Epiphany had always intrigued me, even before I became a Christian. I often wondered how God reached out and spoke with these three kings, and more importantly, how they were led to find Jesus.
These three men get only a brief mention in the gospel of Matthew, but what is evident to me was that they were seeking the stars — seeking God. It was because they were looking out for Him that they saw the Star in the first place. I had often wondered if I did not seek God, would I have been able to see Him at all.
For three to four years, in my late twenties, I stopped going to church. Facing challenges in a personal relationship, I was angry and felt abandoned by God. And yet, on hindsight, I recognized that God had been reaching out to me throughout this period. Even while I was not seeking Him, I now recognise so many occasions when He was there for me.
After I reconciled with God and as I developed a deeper relationship with Him, I grew to realise that many of the things I did in my secular life did not sit well with my faith. Over time, I had to ‘take a different route,’ as the three wise men did, after their encounter with Jesus.
This journey after my Jesus encounter has not ended and continues even today. Let us remember that our Epiphany should not be a destination, but should be a journey.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – Lord, help us always to seek You and to bow before You. Help us Lord to recognize You, help us to have the desire always to reach out to You. Help us to have the courage to be converted by our relationship with You.
Thanksgiving – Thank You Father, for reaching out to us, whatever our disposition is. Thank you for always loving us, in spite of our personal circumstances.