“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” This was the question those magi asked after their long and harrowing journey. They had observed the star at its rising and were proceeding to pay tribute to the newborn king. They brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We know the story well enough; we’ve heard it so many times. But maybe this time, we can make a resolution not to lose sight of this wonderful event in the year to come.
We celebrate Epiphany today, and Epiphany is a revelation, a manifestation of God here among us earthly creatures. Epiphany is God doing a God-thing so that we will sit up and take notice. But it takes some awareness to perceive such an Epiphany, such a wonderful event. We, like the magi, have to ask the question, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”
The journey of the magi was undoubtedly long and arduous. T.S. Eliot hints at this in his poem, “Journey of the Magi:”
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
It is well for us to pay heed to this poem. Because we too make a journey to the Epiphany of the Lord. We too are seeking the newborn king. It is the goal of our lives to be seekers, to find Christ in our world: to meet him in the poor and marginalized, to feed him in the hungry, to minister to his needs as we give of ourselves to others. Some days, the journey might be joy-filled and glorious, other days it may be long and difficult.
For all of us, as we pursue the question of where is Christ in our lives, and as we make the journey with him, we are called also to discern our vocation. Everyone has a vocation: some as parents, some as single people, some as ordained priests or consecrated religious. God has a plan for all of our lives, and it is up to us on this Epiphany day, as well as every other day, to continue to seek clarity of that plan and to be certain we are following it as best we can.
Where is the newborn king for us? Are we ready to make the journey?