Three lessons from the three kings

Happy three kings to everybody.

We are today celebrating The Epiphany of the Lord, the feast of the manifestation of the glory of the Lord. God made man who came to us in the silence of Christmas is today manifested to all mankind as our glorious King.

Three things we can learn from the Magi (Wise men): 1) Search for the King, 2) give homage to the King, 3) Obey the King.

The three kings, or wise men, came from the east. Scholars tell us they are from Persia (Iran), roughly two thousand kilometers away from Jerusalem. If you walk 20 km a day, the trip will take you at least 3 months 10 days. I am sure that there might have been the temptation to stop the search and go back home, after all it is too hot and we are running short on supplies. And since they were carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh, they would have been attractive targets for robbers and brigands. And to top it all, arriving in Jerusalem, there was no newborn King to be found at the palace.

And yet they persisted in their search. Their studies on the stars led them to conclude that an important event took place — the King was born, and they need to find him in order to render him homage. It is very logical that they landed in the palace of Herod. After all, they were searching for a King, and where do you expect to find one but in a palace? That explains their question: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” But the news troubled Herod and the whole of Jerusalem.

Taking inspiration from the scriptures, Herod learned from the scribes and priests that the King is to be found in Bethlehem. And he instructed the Magi to go there and search for the newborn King there, and come back once they found him.

It is interesting that these Jewish scribes and priests KNEW where to find the newborn King, but since they were not looking for him, never found him. Instead these pagans from the East were actively seeking out the Lord, and found him.

The question we should ask ourselves – are we looking for the newborn King? Or are we looking for lesser kings?

Once they found the King, they gave homage by bowing low to the ground and offering gifts.

We too should do the same bowing low to the ground before such a lowly and humble King. The question we should ask ourselves – what is the best way for me to render homage to the newborn King? St Paul, in the second reading, offered in homage his life of service as Minister of the Word. While we might not have the Magi’s gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we can offer others which are equally precious in God’s eyes. A famous Christmas song tells us that the little drummer boy played his best for the Lord. Let us offer our best to the Lord.

And finally the Magi received instructions not to return to Herod. Because Herod’s real intention was not to honor the newborn King, but to kill the newborn King. And they obeyed this instructed and returned via another route. We too are being asked by the newborn King to return to life via another route – the route of love, peace, and forgiveness.

As we celebrate the manifestation of the glory of God, let us truly search for him, and only him. Let us render homage by offering our best. Let us live our lives this new year via another route.

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