Sunday Reflection | We are all beggars and seekers of glory - Saint John's Seminary
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Sunday Reflection | We are all beggars and seekers of glory

January 6, 2024

We are all beggars and seekers of glory.

The Prophet Isaiah, consoling the people in exile, speaks of the restoration of New Jerusalem from which the glory of the Lord becomes visible even to the pagan nations. “Jerusalem,” the prophet Isaiah cries out, “your light has come in the midst of darkness and thick clouds covering the earth; the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” For the people of Israel, then in exile in a foreign land, Isaiah was promising redemption, renewal and restoration –- a new life, to be lived in their own land. And the promise goes beyond the Jewish people to include all peoples. For the prophecy continues, “Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Thus, in this passage, the prophecy which the Lord gives His people celebrates the Divine Light.

The first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel come under the heading “infancy narratives”. The evangelist has set forth the basic tenets of the Good News, namely: the universal scope of salvation, an affirmation of Jesus’ Divine origins and Messianic mission, and the implications of God’s plan and of Jesus’ mission for the Church.

The Epiphany can be a symbol for our pilgrimage through life to Christ. The feast invites us to see ourselves in the Magi – a people on a journey to Christ. Today’s Gospel also tells us the story of the encounter of the Magi with the evil King Herod. This encounter demonstrates three reactions to Jesus’ birth: a) a group of people headed by Herod planned to destroy Jesus; b) an indifferent group, composed of priests and scribes, ignored Jesus; c) a third group — shepherds and the magi — adored Jesus and offered themselves to Him.

All of them on a different track seeking different things. The question for each group, and for us remains: “What is it that you seek?”

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was always the destination of our souls, the answer to our seeking—the place where we find refuge and Eternal Life.

Traditionally, on the Epiphany of the Lord, after the proclamation of the Gospel, a Deacon or cantor, in keeping with an ancient practice of Holy Church, announces from the ambo the moveable feasts of the current year. The proclamation of the date of Easter and the other moveable feasts on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of Sundays that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday, and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter. Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord.

May we look to the Magi and Shepherds as examples of beggars and seekers with expectant faith, trust and openness to encounter. May we humbly give to the Lord ourselves—to be made new and restored. Our journey may be one of uncertainties at times but we know that Jesus, Our Light, Our Truth, and Lord of all has all we need.

May God give you His Peace!

Rev. Michael MacInnis

Saint John Seminary, B.A.

Weston Jesuit School of Theology, M.Div.

Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Th.M.

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