Take Courage, Get Up, Leave Our Comfort Zone, and Travel Far and Wide Until We Behold the Newborn King.

by Susanna Mak

The Church celebrates the great feast of the Epiphany of the Lord this week. The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, meaning "to shine upon," "to manifest," or “to make known.” This feast invites us, once again, to remember the many ways that Christ has made Himself known to the world, and the first of these events is the Magi’s visit as portrayed in the Gospel of Matthew. The other two are the baptism of Jesus and the miracle at Cana (ref. Catholic News Agency: The Epiphany of the Lord). We also know that God continues to reveal Himself to us through Scriptures, the Eucharist, and in the silence of our hearts. May we, like the magi, take courage to seek out the King of kings, Lord of lords, and offer Him what we hold dearest.

Indeed, it is quite extraordinary that the Almighty God chooses to reveal Himself, not to the powerful or the rich but to some of the lowliest individuals in society, the poor and the marginalized. Just as Mary, a lowly and humble youth, who is called to be the Mother of God, the magi “from the east” who live at the fringes of society, regarded as foreigners and outsiders by the Israelites, are given the privilege to behold the “newborn king of the Jews”, the long awaited Messiah (Mt 2:1-2, 4). The bright star signifies to the magi that a king is born and that they must go pay homage. They remembered the words of the prophet, saw the sign, left their home countries, and found what they sought, “They saw the child with Mary, his mother” and “offered [Jesus] gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt 2:11). The magi have offered more than their treasures to Jesus, they have offered themselves as the first witnesses to the Messiah. The humble dwelling of the infant God is instantly transformed in the adoration of the magi. All the “wealth of nations” pales in comparison to the “shining radiance” and “light” of the glory of God (Is 60:3). Indeed, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2: 10-11). More importantly, the hearts of the magi have been transformed and they, too, are lifted up from the “darkness” and “thick clouds” (Is 60:2). They are no longer mere observers who have been casted to the margins of society but have become key players in God’s revelation of Himself to the world.

As pilgrims on earth, we, too, like the magi, are seeking the Messiah. The magi watch the skies with patience and vigilance until they see the bright star. Have we been paying enough attention to the signs around us? Today, the star is burning bright as ever and is leading us towards Christ. Christ’s dwelling place, however, is not in Bethlehem anymore but in our hearts and minds, and in everyone we meet on our journey. Every time we encounter the poor, the sick, the lonely, the outcast, the estranged, or the imprisoned, we are in the presence of the newborn King, Jesus Christ. The bright light often leads us to where we are needed; to serve each other, especially the most vulnerable and needy. Jesus said, “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). When we give food and water, welcome a stranger, cover the naked, care for the sick and neglected, or visit the imprisoned and those who are alone, we offer ourselves as gifts to the infant Christ. These acts of love are our treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh; gifts fit for a king.

When we see the bright star that beckons us to the dwelling place of Christ Jesus, let us take courage, get up, leave the comfort of our home, travel far and wide; until we behold the newborn King!