Homily for the Epiphany of the Lord - Year B - Mt. 2:1-12


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.'


"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel." (Micah 5:1)' Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.' When they had heard the king they went their way.


"And lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."





Homily:


"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.'"


If there is one thing that characterizes the event of the Epiphany of the Lord, it truly is the apparition of a celestial body, of a star: that of the Lord! What is this star? Saint Matthew does not tell us; perhaps he himself did not know. But would it not be the Sun? Is Christ not called "Sol Justitiae", the Sun of Justice? Or rather would it not be another Sun? For it is difficult to see how the sun would be able to appear and disappear, as in Saint Matthew's account.


Another Sun announces the presence and the coming of Christ. In other words, another Christ, the Body of Christ, announces Christ in person! It is just like when John the Baptist came into the world to witness to the Light of the world: Christ. Thus, another Christ, a light in the world following Christ, announces the presence and the coming of the Lord among men!


Is this not the whole of the mission of the Church, called to follow the Light of the world in order that she herself might also be a light to the world? The wise men and their star are there to provide us with an example of witness: the wise men believed in the sign that they had seen, they became spokesmen for this star, they appeared in Jerusalem with this star at the bottom of their heart! The wise men were ready to live or die for the sake of this star, for it was the Star of the Lord!


"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel." (Micah 5:1)' "


The signs of God leave no one indifferent! Whether it is to accept such a sign or to fight against it, there are always men who believe in it, to a greater or a lesser extent. Think about it. If we spread false news, if we speak ill of someone and what we say is false, a calumny, there is and there always will be people who will believe what we say! Even more so, when the news is true, like the Good News of the Gospel, we will always be able to find, here and there, people who believe in it...


So Herod and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did not hesitate for an instant: they believed, with or without good intentions, what the wise men had told them. The high priests and the scribes set about searching for a passage in the Scriptures in which all of these events would find some confirmation. And they found the prophecy of Micah announcing the reign of the Messiah born in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, this was not enough to destroy the bad intentions of some. For a light, no matter which, can either blind or illuminate...


"Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.' When they had heard the king they went their way."


Although we must not cast pearls before swine (cf. Mt. 7:6), Christ did not come to earth in order for us to keep his message secret. On the contrary, we must shout it from the rooftops (cf. Mt. 10:27)! So Herod, in summoning the wise men secretly, does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not have the spirit of a Christian, because a Christian does not try to keep his doctrine secret. Herod does not have a pure and righteous intention: it is in order to kill the young King that Herod pretends to be interested in knowing where he dwells!


"And lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."


Somewhat like the sun that crosses the sky from East to West, the star of the wise men went before them all the way to the place where the Child Jesus and his Mother Mary were. It was a true miracle! So true and so spiritual that it filled the wise men with joy! That joy that comes from the Spirit of God (cf. Gal. 5:22), the Spirit who is All-Powerful (cf. Lk. 1:35) and who commands the forces of nature! Would this not be possible? Have we not seen, previously, the sun stop its journey in the sky in order to allow the victory of the sons of Israel (cf. Joshua 10:12)? Have we forgotten what recently happened in Fatima, where the sun danced about (October 13, 1917)?


During today's celebration, let us ask Mary to present our offerings to the Lord! Let us ask her, above all, to give us Jesus, in order that the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings might be the one and only Light that shines in our heart, for the Glory of God the Father, in the Holy Spirit!




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