Our Christmas season ends with the Magi feast, little Christmas as we used to call it in Ireland. Scripture sees it as the feast of all the world coming to Christ in the form of the wise foreign kings. Lets confess ways we fail to be wise children of God..
We honor the wise men today, but what’s wisdom? Obviously, like the wise men, to seek and serve the source of wisdom, truth and goodness, God himself. We can have all the knowledge in the world but as the psalm says, “without the wisdom that comes from God its all in vain”. The Magi knew this. They made the best of both worlds by using their scientific knowledge to seek and find the Christ. This feast says that all humankind should do the same. As the first reading says: “the nations shall come to your light”. Billions have already done so, but many still toil in darkness.
Our mission is to help bring all to his “dawning brightness”, as our first reading envisages. It sees God’s house as a house of prayer for all the peoples. Paul also talks of the urgent mission to bring all earth’s people to God. Christ in the Gospel accepts the faith of the pagan Canaanite woman, and the responsorial psalm anticipates his kingdom come to the whole world: “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord..all the peoples praise you”. That’s God’s plan, that humankind should hasten to Christ’s wisdom and light, not languish in ignorant darkness.
That was our state at one time, a far-flung people lost in pagan gloom. Then Patrick brought the faith and fulfilled for us the universal salvation in Christ heralded by the prophets. Do we fully appreciate that priceless wisdom we received?
As a new year dawns and its back to work, back to school, lets make a new year resolution to continue with fresh hearts the joyful Christian journey we started at baptism. It inspired our ancestors through all the terrors of occupation, famine and persecution; lets not let affluence kill it in us now. And having kept the priceless wisdom of the faith, lets help in whatever way we can to bring its untold rices to others. For as Christ’s wise followers, the gold frankincense and myrrh we bring to Him now is devout lives and witness. Only that will keep us safe and wise amid the joys, suffering and challenges each year throws up.
I read recently, in a Christmas magazine, the words of a psychologist who said hospitals should encourage faith and prayer among its patients. For these give them deep inner strength in times of illness. In the same way a recent scientific study showed that evolution favors those of faith. In other word those who believe are more likely to survive and thrive. As truly wise men and women then, let faith, hope and charity be the gold, frankincense and myrrh we offer to God and those around us in this coming year. For only such love can spread peace, and save a sinful broken world from meaninglessness and spiritually empty living. Lets be wise and know, like the great scientists that the Magi were, where true lasting wisdom, truth and salvation lies. Lets bring our hearts and souls joyfully to the baby Jesus waiting in that cold manger with Mary and Joseph. During this coming year lets rest in that harbor of safety from the world’s storms. For the things of this world fade to dust and ashes at last, but as truly wise people lets see that Christ alone is lord of love, light, peace, truth, beauty, happiness and salvation both for this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as wise people in Christ, spreading his eternal light to those trapped in futile darkness and despair, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the Faithful
For Our Holy Father the Pope and all the leaders of the churches that they may reach out to all people with a message of help and healing both for this world’s ills and their eternal salvation.
For our civil leaders that they may help the practical and spiritual welfare of all the citizens and reach out generously with what aid they can to those in need abroad…
For the sick, the aged, the depressed, the lonely and those who lack the saving wisdom of Christ, that through our care they may come to fullness of life both for here and hereafter..
For our young people that they may not just concentrate on self, wealth, power and fame but be conscious of their responsibility to be God’s wise light and caring hands to those around them…
For ourselves that we may welcome all people as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and deepen our own faith, hope and charity in the light of Christ’s true wisdom, so as to true saving lights to the families and community we love..
For the dead who have passed from the cares of this world that they may come safely to their heavenly home, especially all our loved ones and sisters and brothers in the parish who have passed away recently, or whose anniversaries occur at this time…
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ who is universal Savior and Lord of all wise people forever and ever, amen.