“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him…
… On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route” – Matthew 2:1-12
Since the earliest times the appearance of the Magi has been interpreted by Christians as speaking of the universal nature of the God’s Kingdom and a foreshadowing of the incorporation of the gentiles into the promises of Israel.
What do you buy for Someone who has everything?
If you go to church today you’ll hear a lot about the gifts brought to Jesus: ‘gold’ revealing His kingship, ‘frankincense’ demonstrating His priesthood and ‘myrrh’ foreshadowing His sacrifice. However, I can’t hear the readings for today without remembering a sermon by Fr. Gervase I heard years ago while I was still in school.
Wise Men seek Him still…
Fr. Gervase’s sermon focussed on the final verses of today’s Gospel where it says that the Magi “returned to their country by another route”. The literal meaning of this sentence is that the Magi took another way home so as to avoid Herod. However, he also saw a spiritual meaning behind those words… The Magi had followed a star from the East which lead them to Christ and since nobody can encounter Christ and remain the same – the course of their journey inevitably had to change.
Trying to be some kind of wise guy?
So now we too have encountered Christ this Christmas. Many of us will be returning to our places of work after vacation and returning to our homes after visiting family. It is a new year, a new beginning and a fresh start. Perhaps we too should be wise and go home another way…
“They went home by another way, home by another way
Maybe me and you can be wise guys too
and go home by another way…” – “Home By Another Way”, James Taylor
(You’ll need to watch this in YouTube)