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A Belated Happy Birthday

The Epiphany of the Lord

My dear encountered couples:

Nothing like showing up late. But as they say, "Better late than never." Pardon me. I don't mean you who are trying to find a seat right now. I'm referring to the three astrologers I just read about in the gospel. If you'd rather call them wise men or kings, that's all right too. Just so we know who we're talking about. I think I'll refer to them as the Three Wise Men. Kings and astrologers are supposed to be wise anyhow, aren't they?

Ever wonder why we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany a couple of weeks or so after Christmas? Because they didn't arrive on time. Must have gotten held up by all that traffic out on the desert. They did get lost. We know that. They had to stop by Herod's place to get directions. stars aren't always easy to follow. And did you notice that by the time the Three Wise Men showed up at the door of the Holy Family it was the door of a house. We keep them in a stable for the entire Christmas season, but I imagine they moved into the Inn or a house as soon as there was a vacancy. It says in our reading that when they got to Bethlehem, the star "came to a standstill over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house, found the child with Mary his mother."

They had been following that star for a long time, probably I, with much difficulty. I'll bet that there were even some I disagreements, maybe even arguments, by the three of them as to which way the star was directing them to go. The important thing I was that they arrived at their destination, at their goal. Whether they were really late or not, I can't say. Maybe they weren't supposed to get there as quickly as the shepherds. God has his own time for everything and everyone. He leads people by different routes in different ways - and on different days.

Are you following your star? You have one, you know. Maybe l you have more than one. You are being led by God in a way he has picked just for you. The shepherds were told and directed by angels; the wise men were shown where to go by the light of a star and by King Herod's advisors who read it in the Scriptures. You, perhaps, don't have to go any long distance to find Jesus. All you have to do is look for him right where you are - in your own house, in your family, in your friends, in yourself.

You don't have to travel to get to him. All you have to do is open the eyes of your mind. He is with you. Jesus has been with you your entire life. He was born in you a long time ago. Just look and see. When you discover him, when you are touched by his love and gentleness, you, like the wise men, might open fully the coffer of your heart and give him all the gifts of love you have. Maybe you will give him yourself as he has given you himself - not holding anything back.

When the Three Wise Men returned home, I'll bet they lived t their lives differently than before. They certainly returned l wiser than they were before. Now they had seen the Messiah. Now I" they had seen God made Human. They had been touched by his love I' and his gentle way of entering our world. Their thoughts were now directed beyond the stars - into eternity - where someday Jesus would take them. I'll bet their thoughts and actions everyday were of the things of God and in line with the will of God. If they were intended to live in heaven, they were going to begin to learn how while they were on earth. They probably learned to open the coffers of their hearts to everyone.

We are to do the same. Discover Jesus Christ, allow him to touch us, to teach us. Then direct our everyday thoughts and actions to living as he wants to live in us, treating one another as he wants to treat each of us. If we really discover the God who has become Man, we should return home and live like we have. Whether we discover him early in our lives or later may not be of much importance. What is important is that we look, that we follow God's directions, the stars or indications he gives us through the experiences and happenings we have in our lives. We are not to give up. We may have to ask others to help us; we might have to lean on the strength and wisdom of others; but we are supposed to keep trying to see Jesus in our lives. And when we do discover him, we will know it. For we will be strongly moved to change our ways and live much better lives. We will know what it really means to be a Christian.

It is true. And it is worth repeating. God is leading you. Try to discover how, and follow. It has nothing to do with distance in miles. It concerns the opening of your mind, the deepening of your understanding, the awakening of your desires for the treasures God wishes to give you from his coffers. It will be just like you've been somewhere and have seen something new and wonderful. It will be just like you've returned home a different, a much wiser person - eager to live a better life. And you will really not have traveled any distance at all. You will just have entered into the depth of the reality that has always been around you - in your home, in your family, in your friends, even in yourself - in fact, in everything. Look - and See - and Open Your Heart!

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