Today I used the readings from Epiphany because I was celebrating Mass with the school children.
You know, I think it’s very important that we pay real close attention to where the wise men went, and what got them there. These astrologers weren’t people who knew about Jesus. But, as they told King Herod, they saw Jesus’ star at its rising, so they must have heard about Jesus somehow. I just think that it’s interesting that as soon as they saw the star, they came to look for him so they could worship him.
We know about Jesus, you and me, so we don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for him. We know that he’s always present to us when we open the Bible and read about him. He’s present to us when we come to church and celebrate Mass together. He’s present to us when we receive the sacraments. He’s even present to us when we gather together in his name for any reason.
But sometimes, we can lose sight of him. Sometimes we become selfish and so we shut others out, or bully them, or say mean things about them. When we do that, we can’t see Jesus in them. Sometimes we don’t make it to church to celebrate Mass on Sunday. When we miss Mass, we don’t get to hear about Jesus in the Gospel or receive him in the Eucharist, or see him in the others who are gathered to pray. Sometimes we go a long time without opening the Bible and reading it. Then we don’t get to hear about how much God loves us.
When we lose sight of Jesus, it can seem like the world is a very dark place. We soon discover that shutting people out only makes us lonelier. We soon discover that spending too much time thinking about ourselves instead of attending Mass and helping others and loving as we should, well that only makes us more lonely too. Sometimes when people get too wrapped up in themselves, they can become depressed and the world seems very, very dark.
And it’s then that we need a star, isn’t it? Just like those wise men, those astrologers, looking up into the heavens, studying the stars and planets found a very special star, a star that told them something very important was happening, sometimes we need that kind of sign in our lives too. And that’s when, maybe, someone comes along and says just the thing we need to hear. Or maybe they are able to help us with a problem that’s been so frustrating for us. Or maybe they invite us to come to Mass with them and sit with them. When they do that, they give us some light, a kind of star, that guides us in the right way.
And when we get that kind of light in our lives, we have to share it too. Because that light comes from God himself, we’ll never run out of it by sharing it. So sometimes it will be our turn to be the star for someone. It will be our turn to say just the right thing, or help with a problem, or invite someone to Mass, or whatever they really need. When we all start sharing the light of the star with others, our world doesn’t have to be dark any more. It can be a very beautifully bright place, and it can help everyone to see the best in the world, the best in each other, and the best in themselves.
At the end of the story, the wise men get a message in a dream, and they decide to take a different way back home to their own country. When we have seen the light of Jesus, we too can be changed. And when we’re changed, we might find ourselves taking a different way in life. All we have to do is the same thing the wise men did: follow the star.