The Three Kings. Epiphany January 8, 2017
[___01__] Brothers and sisters, this Sunday Mass is the celebration of the Feast of the Three Kings which recalls that the action of God gives direction and directions.
The 3 Kings were called, they were invited to Bethlehem. What we read in the Gospel is that they were MAGI – or wise men – with special gifts, particular talents, knowledge of science and of the stars.
[___02__] How great is the distance, the time, or the mileage from your driveway to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, or to the nearest bank or the bridge or tunnel to New York?
Do we rely on the STARS to calculate this?
In a way, we rely on a STAR in the sky, though this is really an artificial star or satellite . We rely on this energy, this force, this signal ..something beyond ourselves for direction.
[___03__] How great is the distance, the time, or the mileage for the Three Kings to Bethlehem?
Well, a few thousand years ago, we are pretty certain that they did not have satellites or GPS or digital instruments.
Yet, they did have a knowledge of nature, of the stars.
They were similar to many travelers, and navigators on the land or the sea with trust in the STARS, in the direction, in their knowledge of God’s Creation.
[___04__] The 3 Kings or Magi were doing something that might make you or me uncomfortable or anxious.
That is, they were willing to leave their own country, their own comfort zone to travel to Bethlehem of Judea.
They were relying on the STARS, on their knowledge of NATURE, and on God’s guidance.
That is, they understood via a sign in nature – through natural means – that something extraordinary was occurring.
[___05__] We also rely on NATURAL signs and VISIBLE signs in order to see and know.
In our relationships with other people we read signs, we read facial expressions, we read gestures, we read emotions… we may read between the lines.
All of these are natural means of navigation in which we come to understand a deeper reality or truth about someone else.
And, this reading of natural signs is not just for the CIA, or the President to figure out what Russia is going to do next … it is not a special code to broken.
Rather, we are reading SIGNS – naturally – in each other to understand each other better.
And, is it not true that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers communicate not only by words but also by signs and signals. We read it in them.
[___06__] In a similar way, we learn the Commandments of God not simply by memorization of the 10 Commandments.
For example, we may or may not be able to recite and name that the 7th Commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Steal.”
God communicated by special and supernatural mean to record this Command to Moses in the 10 Commandments.
However, is it not true that this command - to honesty – is written in our hearts. I know myself, that I feel something – and I think you feel something – you sense something – when someone is being completely honest …or, perhaps, not.
It’s not a star, but it is a natural sign. It is the difference between light and darkness, or the difference between the presence of God and the absence of God.
[___07__] The 3 Kings were seeking the presence of God and following a star in order to discover Jesus.
[___08__] The Three Kings were knowledgeable, also known as the 3 Wise Men, or the Magi.
They had connections in a scientific and intellectual and spiritual way.
They were called to use their intelligence, their talent to discern God’s ways, to love God with all of their heart, mind and strength. We are also called to use all of our heart, mind and strength to live with honesty, compassion, mercy.
[___09__] The 3 Kings had connections. King number 1, ___ 2, __ 3 then met a fourth king and a fifth king. King number 4 was Herod. King number 5 was Jesus.
Herod was also interested in the child, in the newborn Savior.
Now, it would have been very logical and comfortable for the 3 Kings to form an alliance with this fourth King, with King Herod. Herod wants to know them, wants to know what they know.
The 3 Kings are directed in a dream not to make friends with Herod, not to hang around with him, not to be tagged with him, and not to follow his directions or instructions.
To grow closer to God, the 3 Kings remind us to take a route or path which God has designed. It may not be the shortest or the easiest. We are called to read signs. We may even have to avoid certain people on the way.