January 7-8: Preparing to Celebrate Sunday’s Mass (The Epiphany)

Would you like to take a brief quiz before Mass this weekend? It is based on the Gospel for the Feast of the Epiphany (Matthew 2, 1-12). Question: How many “kings” are mentioned: 3, 2, or 1? Answer: Two. Jesus – the King of the Universe and Herod, the king of Judea. [surprise!] Question: How many “wise men” are mentioned: 3, 2, 1 … or none? Answer: None. The Gospel does not mention wise men at all. Question: How many Magi are mentioned: 3, 2, or 1? (This one is tricky.) Answer: the Gospel does not give us a number, it just says “Magi.” And, here’s a bonus question: what are Magi?

A ”magus” was an astrologer or practitioner of the occult. Magi is the masculine plural of magus, like alumni is the masculine plural of alumnus. That’s who came seeking Jesus: some Persian priests of “some” religion from the East. The confusion comes from the fact that we listen more carefully to the lyrics of the songs written for today’s Feast than we do to the Gospel. For example, the songs poetically assume that only royalty could have afforded gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Also, since there were three gifts, an assumption is made that there must have been three royal persons. three kings, who brought them.

The bottom line, so to speak, is this: these people came and prostrated themselves before the Child who represents the true foundation in all people’s lives – the love of God. The real source and goal of all the living is union with God, represented and made accessible to us now in this Child, God made flesh, God-with us.

Let us pray. “Father of light, unchanging God, today you reveal to people of faith the resplendent presence of your Word made flesh. Your light is strong, your love is near. Draw us beyond the limits which this world imposes, to the life where your Spirit makes all life complete. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”


For more on the Magi finding God: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253270/pope-francis-the-three-kings-found-god-in-poverty

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