Having listened to the king they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage.
Matthew 2 : 9-11
I love the story of the three kings that is associated with today’s Feast of the Epiphany; how they followed a star in search of Jesus, to pay homage. The journey to Bethlehem took the three kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, by way of Jerusalem and a prior meeting with another king, Herod. He, too, expressed a desire to do Jesus homage, but his heart was insincere. His real intention was to do away with Christ after the scribes had told him of the prophesy, that out of Bethlehem would rise a leader to shepherd his people Israel. Herod wasn’t happy about this possible challenge to his position and authority.
When the three kings (representative of all nations) arrived at the place where the child was with Mary his mother, they fell on their knees in adoration. They opened their treasures – their hearts – and presented Jesus with gold, incense and myrrh, highly valuable commodities, a currency, and of great value in those times. Having accepted their gifts on behalf of her Son (as she does with all our prayers) Mary, in turn, presented Jesus to the three kings. This was her gift to them, and one of immeasurably more value than gold, incense and myrrh. (Mary is never outdone in generosity!)
As we know, the three kings did not go back to Herod, but returned to their own country a different way. This is conversion. This is the heart, changing. Having replaced in their hearts the riches of gold, incense and myrrh with the treasure of Jesus, the three kings now became ‘wise men’ and avoided returning to their old ways. Going back to Herod with Jesus in their hearts would be inviting problems, for Herod wanted Christ killed and out of his way. There was no room for Jesus in his ‘kingdom’, his home, in his heart. Herod was anti-Christ. And the slaughter of innocents later proved this.
The Annunciation is when we say ‘yes’ to the invitation to go to Medjugorje.
The Visitation can be a difficult journey but when we arrive in the hill country of Medjugorje we sense Mary’s greeting and, like Elizabeth, we are overjoyed at this meeting.
All in search of peace eventually arrive at the Nativity, to kneel. pray and adore, to present themselves, whatever their circumstances: poor, rich, shepherds, kings, wisemen (some are even led by signs in the sky!)
Prompted by the Spirit we make a Presentation of ourselves in Medjugorje, Mary responds by presenting Jesus to all. We become purified and a ‘light to enlighten the pagans’.
And as we prepare to leave Medjugorje to return home to Nazareth or anywhere else, we discover that we have not left Jesus behind; that Jesus really is in the Temple of our hearts. Like the three kings, we become ‘changed’, our conversion begins. We return to our countries a different way.
Blessings on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
• God has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. May you experience his kindness and blessings and be strong in faith, in hope, and in love. Amen
• Because you are followers of Christ who appeared on this day as a light shining in darkness, may he make you a light to all your sisters and brothers. Amen
• The wise men followed the star and found Christ who is light from light. May you too find the Lord when your pilgrimage is ended. Amen