Sunday, January 3rd 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
As citizens of the United States of America, we have been bestowed with many blessings and privileges that other countries just do not have. With all the challenges and struggles we have encountered in the last ten months with the COVID-19 pandemic, many fellow citizens have been tempted to look at our country in a negative light. Some of these naysayers describe our country and its people as being xenophobic (I am not sure what that is), selfish, prejudicial, and malicious.
This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. Matthew’s Gospel accounts the journey of the three magi from their distant country in the East until they arrive and meet infant Jesus dwelling in humble surroundings. This story is one that we all know well. Yet, when we pause to reflect on this moment when these men met Jesus Christ for the first time, we recognize that there is much to be said for us still today.
Tradition gives us the names of these Three Kings or Magi, sometimes referred to as Wisemen or Astrologers, as Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar. When they entered the house, the Bible says, “they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” Clearly these men knew that they were in the presence of their Almighty King. They also came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which symbolized Jesus’ kingship, divinity, and humanity.
Jesus Christ is still manifesting Himself to us today. We enter God’s house weekly for prayer and Liturgy, and we are indeed in His presence. When we meet Him, do we offer Him our gifts of our time, talent, and treasure? As Catholic Christians and Jesus’ disciples, we are called to respond with love, reverence, and gratitude.
This year 2021, let us prepare to receive the many manifestations of Jesus in our hearts and our lives. Unlike so many who possess a negative and cynical world view and disposition, we Catholics need a grateful disposition to acknowledge the many blessings and privileges we have received. With generosity and gratitude, we share all that we have with God and our neighbor.