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Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12
The magi 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.
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. This is from a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, who was a
bishop of Ravenna, Italy, who died around the year 450 and was known for his works of charity
and dynamic preaching: “Today the Magi find, crying in the manger, the one they have followed
as he shone in the sky. Today the Magi see clearly, in swaddling clothes, the one they have long
awaited as he lay hidden among the stars. Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see:
heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the universe cannot con-
tain now enclosed in a tiny body. As they look, they believe and do not question, as their sym-
bolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die.”
Of course, the story of the Magi never happened. While the story is not literally true, it is symboli-
cally true because, as William J. O’Malley, SJ points out in his book
Help My Unbelief
, the under-
lying message being conveyed by Matthew, whose is the only Gospel to mention the story, is that
“Jesus came not just for poor, illiterate, Jewish shepherds but also for rich, learned Gentiles of all
The message for us today is that we must become the light that leads others to Christ by our love
for all, rejecting no one because of race, creed or ethnicity. To become the light of Christ requires
us to stay focused, as the Magi did, on the Light of Christ. But sadly, it is easy for us to only see
the darkness that surrounds us. At times that darkness is so overwhelming it pushes us to think
that God does not exist. Even such a saintly person as Mother Teresa succumbed to those deep
doubts. Some people were shocked to read these words from her: “So many unanswered ques-
tions life within me, afraid to uncover them – because of the blasphemy. If there be a God –
please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to heaven – there is such convicting empti-
ness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my soul.” As I typed those dire
words from a real saint, I felt myself on the verge of tears because I understood her agony and
doubts. There are days my doubts seem close to crushing my faith to death. Yet Mother Teresa’s
honesty gives me the hope and courage to continue to move toward the Light and not allow the
darkness to consume me.
I do not know why I’m writing books or this piece. Who am I to write about spiritual things? I am
just another sinner struggling to find my way to Jesus. In his Gospel story of the Magi, Matthew