When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;/ since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
Go and Search Diligently for the Child. Epiphany centers on Jesus, the manifestation (epiphaneia in Greek) of God in the flesh. For so long the Israelites have been longing for the coming of the Messiah. With the birth of Jesus, the wait is finally over. In Jesus, the face of God the Father is now revealed because Jesus is the Son of God and one with God.
The wise men from the East, searching for the newborn king of the Jews, represent the non-Jewish religions that have come to recognize the birth of someone great. The star that comes out of Judah—alluded to as the future king of the Jews in the prophecy of Balaam (Nm 24:17)—was originally meant for David, but is now applied to the Messiah, the true “King of the Jews.” Jesus’ birth was preceded by consultations from Scriptures and from nature where this newborn king would be found. As the wise men followed the star, so from nature we can also see the manifestation of God. Through the Sacred Scriptures and through intellectual inference we can find our way to God.
In the Gospel, Matthew highlights the contrast of perspectives: the non-Jews pay homage to Jesus, while the Jews and their leaders, represented by Herod, are indifferent and even hostile to Jesus. In a way, Jesus is rejected by the nation of Israel but accepted by the Gentiles. The oft-repeated theme of the Israel, as the light to the nations, is now given to Jesus—the true Light of the world. The pilgrimage of the nations to Jerusalem in Isaiah 60 comes to completion with the coming of the wise men from the East.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.