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Feast of the Epiphany刊登日期: 2014.01.05
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父
This week we celebrate the visit of the wise men from the East.
How many were there?
We don’t know. The Gospel of Matthew did not mention how many there were. Traditionally, because of the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, we say there were three magi who had the names of Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. And on their feast, it is customary to put, (for this year), 20CMB14 or 2+0+C+M+B+1+4 above the door and ask that our house, home and family be like the magi, accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Led by the star, they left their homeland in search for the One who is the Truth. Despite the difficulties of the journey, the unfamiliar lands they crossed, and strange people they met, they focused on the Star of Wisdom. They must find Him.
What wisdom do we look for in life? Do we truly recognize that to find Jesus is to find Life itself? Are we willing to leave our comfort zone, leave behind even what we hold to be important from the past, since our birth, to find the Truth? Would we be disappointed to find the Truth in an unlikely place, not up to our expectation, indeed in a shabby barn? What preconceived criteria do we have of God that He has to meet our expectations? But unlike the magi, will we refuse to accept God because He is disappointing to us ?
The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
Gold, a precious gift reserved for the King. Would we part with a possession of ours that is precious to us? In the United States, it has become very common for parishes to no longer have Christmas Midnight Mass. People want to have an earlier time because midnight is simply too late to stay up to go to Mass, even for Jesus. We now have the custom of having an early evening Mass for the young children, and the church is packed with adults. Then on Christmas Day itself, the church is half empty. We have become creatures of comfort.
Not just any ordinary incense, but the one once used exclusively for religious rituals. We have to set aside things for God alone. It is a strange gift for a child, but appropriate for one who is the Eternal High Priest. Do we set things aside for Jesus in our lives? When we go to Church do we expect Jesus to incense our souls, to sanctify us who are supposed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit? And then once incensed, do we bring the aroma of holiness into our daily lives?
Pope Francis reminded us that we are not Christians of issues, but disciples of the One who is Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and EARTH are full of Your GLORY. We have to be the incense in a world fouled with our false ideologies and erroneous slogans.
The perfume used in embalming a person who has died so as to present the person to the Eternal King, a prophetic gift in anticipation of the world-changing event of His Redemptive suffering and death.
In our time, people are afraid of suffering and death. And at the same time, we want an easy death. Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide have become acceptable. We do not see our lives and our deaths as occasions of grace, not only for ourselves but also for our families and friends. “Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom 14:8)
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