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The Heart of the Magi

The Epiphany of Our Lord

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

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.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

NAB

jan 3

There’s nothing like a teenager to make you take stock of your gifts. Or, in my case, 700 teenagers. Our former parish hosted a large youth rally each spring and one of our speakers, Father Stan Fortuna, shared his insight on gifts and God’s generosity. “God gives everyone a gift. Everyone. The problem? We don’t like the gift God gives us.”

Ouch.

Gift giving has been around for thousands of years. The Magi offered their very best to Jesus upon his birth. They came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Can you imagine if Mary looked at them and said, “Um, where’s the massage? The monogrammed onesie? The Kate Spade diaper bag?”

I mean, those are all things I might’ve wanted upon giving birth. In a barn. With mooing and stinky animals. But, Mary took them gratefully. She saw the sacrifice those Magi made, traveling from afar, to properly welcome the King.

God shares that same generosity for us every day. He pours out His gifts into us. And what do we do? We complain. We covet the gifts of others. We wish ours away. We beg him for gifts He knows we do not need.

Instead of complaining, begging and wishing our gifts away, let’s give God the very best of us. Our words of thanks for the gifts He bestows upon us is never enough. Instead, use your gifts. Use them for His glory. His purpose. His will.

It’s time to start passing out your gold, frankincense and myrrh—with joy, with love and with the heart of the Magi.

Today, think about a gift you possess and how you can use it to bless another person. And be generous, God is worth your best.

photo by Sara Miller

Kathryn Whitaker is married to Scott and together they have 6 awesome kids. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find out more about her here.

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