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. (Matthew 2:1-2)
Epiphany is the feast where the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem becomes a world-wide reality, not only a local story. Visitors from the East (that is, the far reaches of the known world at the time) come not out of curiosity but with the intention of giving honor to the baby who will redeem the world, not Israel only. Faith in Jesus Christ is not solely a personal experience but a community experience as well. Our journey to and from Mass each week brings Christ from heart and home to parish family so that inspired by the Word and fed at the table of the Eucharist we can do our part to make Christ known to the larger world (of neighborhood, workplace, and all the other “worlds” we navigate daily).
As the Christmas season draws to a close, we might ask the question the magi from the east asked: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” I propose that a satisfying answer will come if we keep a little bit of Christmas in our hearts throughout the entire year. The joy, wonder, and star-lit mystery of the Christmas season lifts our spirits; so why not keep some of that joy, wonder and mystery alive as the decorations come down and winter unfolds?
Find your own star to guide you by identifying the grace you have received at Christmas or any other time. Travel by the “light of that same star” by thinking of the people in your life who are light and love and who inspire you to feel hopeful. Keep one small Christmas decoration displayed to remind you that God loved the world so much that He sent his only Son as one like us in all things but sin. Hum a Christmas carol in February when it truly is the bleak midwinter. Most of all, bring Christ to the world by being a loving presence to one another and to those in need. None of us will have to journey as far as the magi did to encounter the living Christ, but nonetheless, travel safely and soundly and know that Christ travels with you!
Fr. Robert Kinnally
Chancellor, Diocese of Bridgeport