Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Following A Star

Epiphany Year A

How many kings were there? Three? Well, the answer may come as a surprise to us - There is only king mentioned in the gospel today, it is King Herod. What of the three kings that we usually sing of in our carols? Nowhere in the gospels is the number three mentioned. Neither are they spoken of as kings. In fact, the gospels describe them as ‘wise men’ – most likely astrologers or what we would call today as ‘feng-shui’ experts or ‘bomohs.’ It was to these non-Jewish wise men that God chose to reveal the birth of his Son.

The Jews, the people of the Old Testament, God’s chosen people – they were totally ignorant of this great event. But a few Gentiles, magicians in fact, came to recognize it. Why was this? Perhaps, the Jews have been so used to thinking about their religion in fixed ways. God is to be found on sacred mountains, in the Temple and in holy places. The Messiah being such a great figure in the prophecies must definitely be a powerful personage that has to be born into wealth and power. They were not prepared to accept the fact that God may choose to be born in a stable.

Sometimes, we too are so fixed in our ways of thinking. We are not open to new ideas. That’s usually the case when we have been doing a thing for such a long time. We not only become stuck to a position but also get stuck to a way of thinking. Whenever someone has a creative idea or suggestion, we usually shoot it down with our pessimism. “It would never work?” “We have never done this before!” “Let’s stick to the old ways of doing things that have been tried and tested!” Because of this attitude, we stifle growth and change. We also put obstacles in the way of God attempting to reveal his will to us.

Today, the gospels challenge us to recognize the stars – just like the star that led the wise men to Jesus. Our God is a God of surprises. If we are stuck to certain ways of thinking about God, God then becomes predictable – he ceases to be God. We must allow God to be God. This means that we must allow him to choose the way in which he wants to reveal himself. God can choose to reveal himself to the little one. God can choose to reveal himself in the ordinary things of life. God can choose to come to us in a quiet and peaceful way and does not need to put on a big show of miracles. We must allow him to do things according to his plans and not according to our own will. Whenever we follow a star – whenever we follow a sign from God – a new idea – a new pastoral plan – a new direction – we may never know where it will lead us. We are merely asked to walk by faith. But if we are faithful and open to God’s will and direction, then we will find Jesus and God at the end of our journey. He is waiting for us to find our way to him.

Let us pray that we will not get lost along the way. There will be times that we feel like giving up. There will be times other distractions draw our attentions. But if we ever get lost, there is always the star to remind us of our direction and destination. That star isn’t our destination. It is merely pointing the way to Jesus himself – the Light of the World – the light which has come into the world to show us the way to the Father. Let us follow him!

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