THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
January 8-14, 2017
In the story of the birth of Jesus much is revealed about this special child. The Messiah was to come from the royal house of David, the King and would be born in the City of David, Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread.” Joseph and Mary were both descendants of David and had to go to Bethlehem for the Roman census. Luke 2: 1-5 Thus, the child fulfills two prophecies – he is born in Bethlehem and of the house of David. If only the Jewish leaders would have dug a little deeper into Jesus’ background, but it probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of Jesus’ “trial.” People can be very stubborn when they feel threatened by someone. They look no deeper than the surface. Today’s world testifies to this reality.
The two groups of people who visit the new born King, were not picked at random by God, the Father. The shepherds represent the Jewish people, the poor, the outcast, the forgotten and the marginalized. The
three kings represent the non-Jews. This is why the Feast of the Epiphany, meaning “to reveal or manifest,” is so important. A whole new concept about the Messiah was revealed in the presence of these foreigners.
As St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3: 2-3, 5-6, “…the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Thus God, the Father proclaims that his Son, Jesus, has come for all people, not just for one nation.
One further point that is relevant for today. The Holy Family had to flee to Egypt to escape Herod who wanted to kill the child. He was well aware that this child threatened his throne. Thus Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees. The area from which they fled was known as Greater Syria and encompassed many areas and nations. This ancient Syria is the “cradle of civilization” and the land of
“prophets and apostles.” Catholic Encyclopedia It is in Antioch, Syria that Jesus’ followers were first called “Christians.” So, Jesus was a refugee from Syria. One wonders if his family would have been accepted into the United States.
The gifts that the Magi presented to Jesus have various meaning, but the most popular is as follows: Gold represents his kingship, frankincense his priesthood and myrrh his death and burial. These were normal gifts of that time to present to a king. Biblical Archeology Society
As we go about our daily lives, perhaps we can take some time to reflect on what gifts we bring to our God – an encouraging word to a child, a visit to a lonely person, a smile to a grumpy colleague, a prayer of gratitude, a hug and kiss to a spouse and a helping hand to the less fortunate. Little non-violent actions are the signs of a Christian life.
On Monday the Baptism of Jesus is celebrated. Jesus did not need to undergo the baptism of repentance of John the Baptist, but submitted in order to usher in the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit. “The clouds opened and Holy Spirit descended upon him. A voice was heard to say, “You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests.” Luke 3: 21-22 Each baptized person receives the Holy Spirit and finds favor with God.
Spread the Good News – Emmanuel – God is with us.
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF