Daily Reflection – Jan 3, 2016
Sunday 3 January 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you
Psalm 71(72):1-2, 7-8, 10-13
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12. [Most Holy Name of Jesus]
Today’s Feast: The Ephipany of the Lord (Solemnity)
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
In the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived. (Matthew 2:1)
Experience tells us that if you wake up expecting that you’re going to have a bad day, then you’ll most likely have a bad day. But if you wake up looking forward to the day, there’s a good chance your day will turn out well. It’s a simple illustration of how our attitudes can affect our behaviors, which then affect the way we deal with all kinds of situations.
Today’s Gospel gives us a striking example of how powerful our predispositions can be. First, we meet King Herod, who is “greatly troubled” by news of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:3). Then, we meet the magi, who are “overjoyed” by the exact same event (2:10). Both grasp that a new king has been born, and both are eager to see him—but for different reasons. Herod, insecure about his grasp on power, sees Jesus as a threat and uses deception to try to destroy him. The magi, seekers of wisdom, are excited by the news and hurry to offer royal gifts to the child.
We all can point to ways that fear, envy, or some other negative emotion has colored the way we approach a situation. Instead of remembering that Jesus is always seeking to do us good, we think that he has forgotten us or, worse, that he is punishing us. But if we can face each situation with an open heart, ready to find God’s presence, fear and doubt will begin to melt away. We’ll find Jesus in unexpected, unlikely places—just as the magi found almighty God in the modest home of Mary and Joseph.
So when you are in a moment of fear or doubt, pause, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you find God’s presence. Ask him to help you take on a more open, trusting attitude. As you do, you’ll discover the kind of joy and even awe that the magi felt.
“Holy Spirit, direct my attitude today. Help me to sense your guidance, and fill my heart with your joy.”