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Posted: 1/6/2012 5:42:18 PM EDT
January 8



First Reading:
Isaiah 60:1-6


1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the
glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD
will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen
upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings
to the brightness of your rising.
4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all
gather together, they come to you; your sons shall
come from far, and your daughters shall be
carried in the arms.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart
shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of
the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the
nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young
camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba
shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Psalm:
Psalms 72:1-2,7-8,10-13


R. (cf. 11) 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


2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's
grace that was given to me for you,
3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation,
5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other
generations as it has been now revealed to his holy apostles
and prophets by the Spirit;
6 that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the
same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus
through the gospel.

Gospel:
Matthew 2:1-12


1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying,
2 "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:
6 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared;
8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."
9 When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy;
11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Readings and commentary

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Study resources

Overview of the Gospel:

• The word “Epiphany” means an appearance, especially of a king or other important person.
The Feast of the Epiphany marks the appearance of the Messiah to the Gentiles (non-Jews)
represented by the Magi. It is also celebrated as the 12th day of Christmas, marking the end of
that liturgical season, and beginning of the liturgical season of Ordinary time.

• The Magi, astrologers or sages from the east, come to Jerusalem seeking “the newborn king
of the Jews” after seeing “his star at its rising” (verse 2).

• Herod, the reigning king of Judea, was a paranoid and violent ruler who was known to put to
death any and all threats to his throne (including several wives and children). He pretends to
help the Magi as a means to destroy this new rival.

• Despite Herod’s schemes, the Magi are able to find and worship the newborn King in safety,
though Herod’s fury later will have tragic results (see Matthew 2:13-18).

Questions:

• The 1st Reading from Isaiah contains a prophecy which is directed to the Jews returning from
Exile, but it is not primarily about them. Who does it describe and what will be their
experience? What will Israel’s response to this be? What should our response be to seeing
people who were formerly “outsiders” entering the Church?

• In the 2nd Reading, what is the “great mystery” of which St. Paul speaks of in verse 3?
Why is this significant for the Church of his time? Of our time?

• Why was it important for Jesus to be born in the city of David, Bethlehem, a name which
means “house of bread” (verses 4-6; Micah 5:1-3; 2 Samuel 5:2)?

• What do the star, the Magi, the gifts, the homage, the hostility and the prophecy teach about
the significance of Jesus?

• Since the Magi were pagan astrologers, why would they leave everything to follow that star?
In your journey toward God, how are you like the Magi? Unlike them? Have you had to leave
anything to follow Jesus?

• Note the responses of the Magi upon finding Jesus. How are they similar to the response that
Christians make to Jesus, including before the Blessed Sacrament?

• What is the “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” in your life? How have you offered this to Jesus?
Link Posted: 1/7/2012 5:46:38 PM EDT
Today the child born on Christmas is revealed to be the long-awaited king of the Jews.

As the priests and scribes interpret the prophecies in today’s Gospel, he is the ruler expected from the line of King David, whose greatness is to reach to the ends of the earth (see Micah 5:1-3; 2 Samuel 5:2).

Jesus is found with His mother, as David’s son, Solomon, was enthroned alongside his Queen Mother (see 1 Kings 2:19). And the magi come to pay Him tribute, as once kings and queens came to Solomon (see 1 Kings 10:2,25).

His coming evokes promises that extend back to Israel’s beginnings.

Centuries before, an evil king seeking to destroy Moses and the Israelites had summoned Balaam, who came from the East with two servants. But Balaam refused to curse Israel, and instead prophesied that a star and royal staff would arise out of Israel and be exalted above all the nations (see Numbers 22:21; 23:7; 24:7,17).

This is the star the three magi follow. And like Balaam, they too, refuse to be tangled in an evil king’s scheme. Their pilgrimage is a sign - that the prophesies in today’s First Reading and Psalm are being fulfilled. They come from afar, guided by God’s light, bearing the wealth of nations, to praise Israel’s God.

We celebrate today our own entrance into the family of God, and the fulfillment of God’s plan that all nations be united with Israel as co-heirs to His Fatherly blessings, as Paul reveals in today’s Epistle.

We too, must be guided by the root of David, the bright morning star (see Revelation 22:16), and the light of the world (see Isaiah 42:6; John 8:12).

As the magi adored Him in the manger, let us renew our vow to serve Him, placing our gifts - our intentions and talents - on the altar in this Eucharist. We must offer to Him our very lives in thanksgiving. No lesser gift will suffice for this newborn King.


Newborn King
Link Posted: 1/7/2012 5:47:23 PM EDT
Food for the Journey - 15 minute audio reflection by Sr. Ann Shields of Renewal Ministries.
Link Posted: 1/7/2012 5:51:43 PM EDT
WHEN THE STAR FADES...

"We observed His star at its rising..." —Matthew 2:2


In their homeland, the Magi saw a great star at its rising. Greatly impressed, they set out on their journey to follow the star to greet the newborn King at Whom they believed the star pointed. After they had traveled for a time, they could no longer see the star. They were past the point of no return, and were not sure where God was now leading them. But the Magi did not give up on God's leading; they did not quit and return back home. Instead, they did the reasonable thing; they consulted the nearby leader, King Herod of Israel. Though Herod harbored ill will, he unwittingly sent them to the right place, Bethlehem, when his advisors consulted the Hebrew Scriptures. As the Magi set out in blind faith for Bethlehem, suddenly the star re-appeared. It's no wonder the Magi "were overjoyed at seeing the star" (Mt 2:10). God's guidance for their journey had resumed.

Have you ever started on a journey of faith in response to the clear prompting of God? You commit yourself to the journey, burn your bridges behind you (see 1 Kgs 19:19-21), and then it seems like God's divine guidance completely vanishes. This is a pattern that many have experienced in their lives of faith. This might be a test from God, "the Tester of our Hearts" (1 Thes 2:4).

If you're in this situation, the Magi are a model for you. Persevere in trust, as they did, and believe that God will guide you in the proper time. "Walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7). "Commit to the Lord your way; trust in Him, and He will act" (Ps 37:5).

Prayer: Jesus, like the Magi, I give You the gift of my life. I will follow You wherever You lead. "In my life, Lord, be glorified."
Promise: "In Christ Jesus the Gentiles are now co-heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and sharers of the promise through the preaching of the gospel." —Eph 3:6
Praise: Praise Jesus, made manifest to the world as King of kings!


Link Posted: 1/7/2012 6:24:41 PM EDT
• In the 2nd Reading, what is the “great mystery” of which St. Paul speaks of in verse 3?
Why is this significant for the Church of his time? Of our time?


Look no further than the image Cat has displayed-above from today's Gospel: exactly who gives homage to the infant Jesus? Not the Jews, but rather the Magi! They are the first to recognize the Messiah––God become Man. This is the "great mystery" which St. Paul speaks of.

Now, the Gentiles have become co-heirs with the Jews in God's plan of salvation. The Jews are God's chosen people, his family. The Gentiles are now part of this
family which forms the new Israel and shares in the inheritance. This has been revealed to St. Paul and the Apostles by the Holy Spirit. God's favor was not given just to St. Paul himself for his own blessing and use, but so that St. Paul could evangelize, teach and reach out to others.

This was obviously significant for the Church in St. Paul's time to grow in faith, fellowship and love, but ours as well. As Christians, we are all called to preach "The Good News" to others!
Link Posted: 1/7/2012 7:16:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BeNotAfraid:
• In the 2nd Reading, what is the "great mystery” of which St. Paul speaks of in verse 3?
Why is this significant for the Church of his time? Of our time?


Look no further than the image Cat has displayed-above from today's Gospel: exactly who gives homage to the infant Jesus? Not the Jews, but rather the Magi! They are the first to recognize the Messiah––God become Man. This is the "great mystery" which St. Paul speaks of.

Now, the Gentiles have become co-heirs with the Jews in God's plan of salvation. The Jews are God's chosen people, his family. The Gentiles are now part of this
family which forms the new Israel and shares in the inheritance. This has been revealed to St. Paul and the Apostles by the Holy Spirit. God's favor was not given just to St. Paul himself for his own blessing and use, but so that St. Paul could evangelize, teach and reach out to others.

This was obviously significant for the Church in St. Paul's time to grow in faith, fellowship and love, but ours as well. As Christians, we are all called to preach "The Good News" to others!
I understand your point, but I would just ask that we go easy on the Jews, for the Magi weren't the first to recognize our Lord. We have a tendency as Christians to pile a rather hefty amount of "trash" on the doorstep of Judaism. I would contend the first to recognize our Lord were Elizabeth and her unborn child John. I think they were Jews.


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