I have always loved the awe-inspiring story of the journey of the Magi seeking Christ in Matthew’s Gospel [2:1-12]. At home in their distant, foreign lands, the three foreigners, most probably astrologers, had all the comforts of princely living, but something was missing- they were restless and unsatisfied. They were seekers, not satisfied with the world as they knew it; they hoped that this new leader, whose birth was announced by the brilliant star in the heavens, would be someone who could make the world a better place. They had the courage to wager their lives and comfort and reputations, and to start out under the gray winter skies, following the light of a new star in the heavens that would lead them to Truth and Life.
As you can see, Matthew’s Gospel story is filled with extraordinary contrasts of people, places and situations: of people- a mad, tyrannical Herod, simple Magi who seek the truth, the people who seemingly rise up in support of their despotic ruler; of places- the smallness of Bethlehem and the grandeur of Jerusalem; of attitudes- simplicity and joy, anxiety, jealousy and threat.
At the centre of the whole story of striking contrasts lies a baby who is joy. Herod is afraid of this "great joy for all the people." To those who are alert to the signs of the times and the places, the coming of Jesus is an invitation to risk and to embark on a journey of faith.
In the end, the Magi went their own way, and because they refused to be seduced by cynicism, because they allowed themselves to be surprised by this great joy, the star to which they had committed themselves appeared again.
This is not only the description of the times into which Jesus was born, but also our times. It describes in a very accurate way the journey to Christ for many people today.
Christ alone offers us real joy. He alone is our true hope… he for whom the prophets longed. He whom the magi adored. He for whom the martyrs gave the ultimate witness with their lives. Let us bow down and worship him with simple hearts filled with joy.
A Blessed and Happy New Year to all of you from all of us at Salt and Light Television.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.,
C.E.O., Salt and Light Catholic Television Network