“THE WISE MAN FROM AFAR IS IN YOUR MIDST”
Saint Matthew 2. 1-12
The EPIPHANY of Our Lord: 6 January Anno Domini 2013
Father Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
“Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews?” [Mt. 2.2]
“THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” [Mt. 27.37] He is on the cross, the Just God/Man dying for the sins of the world; dying for you. He is in your ears alive with shouts of victory and loosing. He is on your tongues and in your hearts with sweet healing, nourishing peace.
The wise men from the east came a great distance. This is not like from Raytown to Shawnee but a distance that was dangerous, taxing, and adventurous. They were wise because they came. “I believe that I cannot by own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him” writes the Reformer in the explanation to the Second Article of The Creed: True! The wise men were not “decision-theology enthusiasts,” they were believers like Saint Andrew and Saint Bartholomew, men looking for the “consolation of Israel.” They were believers in the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were believers in the Promise, The Word, of the coming Messiah! They were like you drawn by the Holy Spirit through the Word to look for the Messiah. They knew that this Christ of the most High God was the King, for that is what they asked about, Who they asked for, when they arrived at Herod’s headquarters. They had followed the star that the Paraclete used to gather them around not a star, but THE Star—Light of Light. They came to worship Him. This is about the only thing that anyone can really say or share with those who willfully absent themselves from Bethlehem—this altar. They believed that the Christ was somewhere in the environs of Jerusalem and they were there to be in His presence—worshipping. People today who have been likewise gifted by the Holy Ghost will do the same thing.
Herod, a believer in anthropocentric “creative” worship, i.e. man-centered obeisance—centered around and focused on him, was of course greatly “troubled.” That which man cannot control and dominate, he desires to kill. The “old Adam” always seeks to be a king, a Herod, and not to worship The King of heaven. The sinful pretender and usurper in all of us neither loves the Lord nor the neighbor—even the two-year old neighbor.
Herod’s scribes at least had the Scriptures—like some Americans have a Bible…somewhere in the house (maybe downstairs in the spare room’s bookcase)…so they told him what God’s Prophets had “spake by the Holy Ghost.”
In the House of Bread, David’s city, The Bread of Life would be set on the holy paten of a crèche, to be adored yes, but to be received and believe upon—the content of faith; the Flesh and Blood of salvation. Little Bethlehem, small and inconsequential Ephrata, birth place of the least of Jesse’s sons, burial ground of Mother Rachel, born in you would be the meek and mild, the innocent and pure Paschal Lamb, the little one (one little Word) Who as the True Lion of Judah would come from Judah’s tribe. This “governor” would rule Israel by letting a governor sentence Him to death on a cross. This “wonderful counselor” would be King and Prince of Peace by being the perfect Israel—Son of God. This “ruler” would rule by obeying the Father and by loving the neighbor as Himself.
The Paraclete’s star brought the Magi to the house where the Christ was. God is everywhere, and He was omnipresent in His Trinitarian being in the year 3 B.C. as He is in the year 2013 A.D. But the God/Man was located, anchored, “for them” and their salvation in the house of His Mother—the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. One may vainly imagine God is out there in “nature” for forgiveness…and one will be wrong. One may arrogantly demand the Lord fit ones prescription and description (one’s Herod-complex) and one will be wrong. To find the Christ Child, the Messiah God/Man for redemption and peace one finds Him on the lap of His Virgin Mother—His Church, His ecclesia, His place, where the star of Holy Breath gathers them around Word rightly Gospelled and Word rightly administered.
First is the joy at receiving THE GIFT, and then the “gifts.” First the wise men received joy in Divine Service, Jesus for them, and then they naturally responded with tithes of mammon.
Jesus is the gold of Grace freely spoken to hurting hearts. I love you and I forgive you. My blood is more precious than gold and is your drink. Jesus is the frankincense of faithful prayer and one-ness with the Father wafting heavenward in His obedience and sacrifice. Jesus is the myrrh of comfort, rest and preservation of your bodies. His Body did not need the ointment on Easter morning, but He gives you that glorified Body to eat on this Epiphany morning.
You the New Testament Magi, the wise in Word and Supper “see” the star in the east, the Christ on His altar, and have come to worship, to receive, Him!
"Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews?"
"THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost