Going home by another way

10 a.m. Mass, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, Beverly Hills, Michigan.

So today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the week in which the promise of Jesus’ birth first becomes clear to the larger world. Also, the week in the year we sing “We Three Kings,” one of my favorite carols. Such a Catholic holiday called for a visit to a Catholic parish, so I chose Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, which would be my home parish if I were to join one.

The readings today were from Isaiah 60, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (leaving aside whether he actually wrote it) and, of course, Matthew 2:1-12, the made-for-cinema story of the wise men. The astrologers come to Jerusalem and start asking everyone where the newborn king of the Jews might be found. Cut to King Herod — give him a pointy black beard — gnawing his be-ringed knuckles in distress. “All of Jerusalem,” so we hear, joins him in distress. Because there could be a new king? Or because there might not be a new king soon enough? Call that foreshadowing.

Herod brings the wise men to him “secretly” (let him believe that) and insists the magi return to him ASAP with a report on the child’s location, so that he, too, might pay the child homage. (Dum -dum-DUM goes the soundtrack. Not even the preschoolers believe Herod.) It’s hard to imagine this scene without some tasty bribes gifts being pressed upon the visitors from the East. The wise men leave, find the Child and then, warned in a dream, go home by another way. Thus proof that they are, indeed, wise men.

What sent them another way? The messengers of God, yes, but as our pastor said, the true pointer came from their encounter with God in the Christ child, after which their lives could not continue on the same road. So should we open ourselves to the presence of God in the Eucharist, which, too, will set our lives on a new, better path. That was the homily.

A journey out and then a different return home. That seems to me much like my endeavor here, my mid-life seeking after … God, I suppose. Maybe through fellowship with God’s people, the other travelers. I took one path to this point in my life, but I doubt the answers can be found by doubling back.

And so I ask: Which leg of the magi’s journey was the more important?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Helen
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 15:20:20

    Interesting. I like it.


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