Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, and Herod

Meditation and Reflection for the Epiphany

by Fr. Tommy Lane

(The following is an excerpt from a recording which is no longer available. You can listen to this excerpt in mp3 accompanied by specially commissioned soothing background music (reduced quality for 56k dial-up modems)

We imagine ourselves in the presence of baby Jesus, and Mary and Joseph. We are surprised to see men of eastern appearance come. They see baby Jesus and fall on their knees. They offer him homage and give him presents of gold, frankincense and myrrh; gold because Jesus is king, frankincense since Jesus is divine and myrrh prefiguring his Passion. They tell us about the star and about Herod who knew nothing about Jesus’ birth. After their stay they set out on their return journey eastwards but not via Jerusalem since they want to avoid Herod. After their departure we spend time with baby Jesus. Baby Jesus, we do not have gold, frankincense and myrrh to give you but we can give you our love. Let our love be your manger. For a moment now let us love baby Jesus.....

Baby Jesus, even while you were only a little baby you experienced both acceptance from the wise men and rejection from Herod. The wise men and Herod had two opposing attitudes, searching for God and being closed to God. Baby Jesus, we see that the wise men were blessed in their search for you by finding you. We are searching for you too, we want to come ever closer to you. Help us to draw ever closer to you and if we are closed to you like Herod, help us to open so that we can find you. Let us ask Jesus to help us in drawing closer to him.....

Baby Jesus, not only had the wise men and Herod different attitudes to you, they also had different attitudes to life. The wise men were generous, Herod was selfish wanting to hold on to his throne. The magi gave you gifts; Herod killed all boys under two years of age. The wise men were willing to put energy and goodness into life, Herod wanted to get all he could from life. The magi who sacrificed to put into life were happy, Herod who took all he could from life was unhappy. Baby Jesus, help us to foster a healthy attitude towards life, giving and caring, instead of grasping, and being selfish and possessive. Let us pray now asking Jesus to help us develop ever more wholesome attitudes towards life.....

The magi were blessed. They were given the guidance of a star. In the darkness of this world we have all been given help on our journey to God; the beauty of nature, the Word of God in Sacred Scripture, Spirit-filled witnessing and preaching, the faith of others and our own faith. For a moment let us thank God for giving us stars to lead us to him.....

When the wise men arrived in Jerusalem, it seems they no longer had the guidance of the star, otherwise they would not have had to ask Herod for advice. Sometimes we too feel as if we’re in the dark, like the magi. Sometimes what or whom we relied on is not there any more. Sometimes we see only darkness around us. But we know that you are there, Jesus, and that eternal life awaits us even if sometimes in this world there is no star for us. Lord, in our moments of darkness without a star, help us not to give up but to keep searching, hoping and praying because that would be the best way forward. Let us pray now for strength to remain steadfast when there is no guiding star.....

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