THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

The Feast of the Epiphany

6 January 2019

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Dear Friends,

There are commentators of today's Gospel that tell us that the Magi arrived to worship Jesus thirteen days after His Birth and not a year later as some suggest. St. Jerome tells us that the Magi learned of this star that was to come from the prophecy of Balaam whose descendants they were. They traveled upon Arab horses and dromedaries which made their travel very swift. St. John Chrysostom says that they could have set out two years before His birth, the Star traveling before them. The star began in the east and traveled before them. It was low in the sky and therefore clear and easy to follow — just as the cloud and pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the desert.

The Fathers of the Church make sure to tell us that Jesus brought forth the star that revealed His birth. It was not the star that brought forth the birth of Jesus. The superstitions of fate and the astrologers are clearly condemned. The stars in the sky do not determine the destiny of men. We have a free will and thus our future is placed in our own hands.

In any case, it is truly a wonderful event that the Gentile Magi come to worship the King of the Israelites before they do. The poor Israelites were rich in prophesies and scriptures, wisdom and understanding, but also with pride; and for this reason, they are blind to the arrival of the Son of God and are poor in His grace and virtue. St John tells us that Jesus came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.

The Magi were at least three men, but there may have been more and they offered all together the three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold reminds us the Jesus is King, the frankincense tells us that He is God, and the myrrh prophesies Jesus' sacrificial death for our sins. These gifts are offered to God, Who is hiding His divinity in a Human Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is obvious that the Magi were not looking for an earthly king. An earthly king would have been dressed in fine garments and resting on a soft bed. The sight of poverty surrounding the Holy Family blinds the worldly-minded. The Magi saw a poor infant but worshiped an all-powerful God.

It is a terrible tragedy and injustice that God dwells so lovingly and patiently in the tabernacles of true Catholic churches, yet very few Catholics come to worship Him or offer Him the gifts of prayer and sacrifice. It is to the shame of Catholics just as it was to the shame of the Israelites to have not known God. He is here, we believe this through faith. Jesus has told us and the Catholic Church continues to teach us, yet very few develop this faith into positive action in their lives. The Magi, put us to shame. Having heard the prophesy and witnessed the wondrous star they were moved to action. This was not just interesting information to be set aside so we can continue on with our lives in the same manner as before. They set out facing all the hardships entailed so that they could present their gifts and themselves in the worship of God. We find it too difficult to come to Mass and we make any little inconvenience an excuse not to come and worship Him. There are some who come from great distances and endure some hardships to worship Jesus in the True Mass, and these put to shame those who are in the immediate vicinity but do not come.

It is the Magi that we are called upon to imitate — not the spiritually blind Israelites. Today's Gospel says that with Herod all of Jerusalem was troubled because of the news the Magi brought to them. Perhaps the Israelites were troubled because they feared King Herod rather than God. They are troubled over the birth of a child. They must know or understand that Jesus is not just any other child, or that He is not just another king. It is truly troubling when we are asked by the worldly authority to reject and turn against spiritual authority.

The world invites us to obey the suggestions of modernism and materialism. Those in authority and those supporting them are deeply troubled by anyone who may even suggest that there is a greater power a greater authority that we must follow. The blinded souls of many are deeply troubled when it is pointed out that God has forbidden murder — including the murder of infants (many of whom never see the light of day). They are troubled when the unnatural sexual sins of today are clearly exposed for what they are. To speak the truth is so troubling to our world today that they are ready to criminalize the truth and condemn any who might dare speak the truth. Just as Herod sought to do away with Jesus, so the world today seeks to do away with anyone who even remotely resembles Jesus by speaking the truth.

Jesus has called us, just as He called the Magi. Let us not fear worldly kings and power, but with hearts filled with love and determination find Jesus and offer Him our three-fold gifts of ourselves (memory, intellect, and will) in the true worship of the Mass and as well as in prayer and sacrifice.

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