Where is the star for my journey?
This feast day reveals the coming of God for all and to be with all. One has to explore and journey like the Magi to see, to recognize, to find and to adore Christ, who is constantly being born among and around us. The Magi followed the star, but we follow our GPS to reach a destination. What do I depend on for my journey? How do I explore and seek God in my spiritual and personal journey?
We make trips to The Holy Land or to Rome, Fátima or Lourdes. In all these trips, if something happens along the way – sickness, technical problems or weather changes – how do I respond? Do I become restless? We want our journey to go smoothly without having to choose alternative routes. The prophet Isaiah addressed the people of Israel to choose an alternative path. Likewise, we are invited to be open and take an alternative path to find and adore Jesus among us.
The coming of wise men from distant places signifies that Jesus is born for all. In the context of this feast, the gospel of Matthew asks: Why did the wise men come from faraway places? Were there more than three and what is the significance of these gifts?
I want to reflect on Epiphany as a movement – a constant inward journey. The Star of Bethlehem was the Magi’s GPS. They must have travelled for three months from Persia in search of the new King, the Messiah and the Saviour. In terms of their beliefs also, it was a long journey – and an inward journey – to worship Jesus. There must have been various moments when they wanted to choose their own way. The Gospel relates that the star disappeared when they went into Herod’s palace but re-appeared once they left. Still then they were in darkness and had to re-think the path to their destination. Sometimes we don’t listen, want to take our own path on our own journey. We panic, become distressed or get stuck in our search to meet and experience Jesus.
A movie called “The Fourth Wise Man” is a good example for our reflection. Artaban, the fourth wise man, carried an expensive sapphire, ruby and pearl. He missed the caravan with the other wise men because he was late. Why? Though his servant tried forcing him to go see the Saviour, he stopped along the way to help a dying man, sold his horse to cross the desert with camels, saved the life of a child, and supported a community to re-build their lives. He gave his last treasure, a pearl, to pay a ransom to save a young woman from being sold into slavery. After thirty-three years, Artaban was still a seeker and a pilgrim. He arrived in Jerusalem just at the time of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The story ends with a voice, “Truly I say to you, in as much as you have done it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you have done it unto me.”(Matthew 25:40)
Baby Jesus is around… as a troubled child, as a sick person, as a lonely young man or elderly woman. Am I listening to the voice of God to stop along the way? Am I open to an alternative path and an epiphany in my journey? Am I ready to stop by and listen to God’s voice?