Daily Reflection – Jan 8, 2017
Sunday 8 January 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
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
Today’s Feast: The Epiphany 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.
The star that they had seen at its rising preceded them. (Matthew 2:9)
The Magi certainly weren’t the first to follow a star. Ancient mariners used stars to navigate the seas. Greeks and Persians and Egyptians saw noble stories and even future predictions in them. Poets invoked their aid in their quest for love. But this star was different. This star led wise sages from the East to a humble carpenter, his wife, and . . . the Son of God.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a bright star could lead us to Jesus? Life would be so much simpler, wouldn’t it? We hear so many different voices and see so many different paths before us—how can we ever know the right way?
Actually, God has given us something much better than a star: the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). He is not just a distant star but God himself, living and active in our hearts. So let’s practice learning how to hear him.
One important way is through Scripture. More than just a set of stories and teachings, Scripture is “living and effective” (Hebrews 4:12). That means that the Spirit can take a passage that was written thousands of years ago and bring it to life for you. He can show you God’s love more deeply, give you guidance, or console you in a time of trial.
Try listening to the Spirit today. Take one of the readings from Mass, and read it slowly and prayerfully. Try to quiet the distractions in your mind, and keep your focus on Jesus. See if something from this passage speaks to you personally. If it’s a good and encouraging thought, it may well be the Holy Spirit! Remain with that thought for a while, and watch as the Spirit opens your heart to Jesus a little bit more.
Remember, the Spirit’s goal is not to tell you how to do every little task in life. Rather, he wants to help you recognize Jesus, even in the most unlikely places—just as the Magi did.
“Holy Spirit, thank you for guiding me. Help me to follow your lead today.”