FAITH IN FOCUS: MODERN-DAY MAGI
The Epiphany is the feast of the catholicity of the Church. This means that the Church is for everyone, in all places and at all times. The opposite of catholic is exclusive.
But the Church is not exclusive; it’s all embracing and catholic. We don’t stand like nightclub bouncers at our church entrances, deciding on who should be let in and who should be excluded. We stand there to welcome in anyone of any race, colour or creed who wants to know more about Jesus Christ, the God who became one of us.
And so the wise men entered the stable at Bethlehem at the end of their star-led journey to find this new king and to pay him homage. The Magi from the East show that Christ’s message was not just for the neighbours, but for the ends of the earth. Epiphany is Christ’s manifestation to the whole world, far and wide.
You and I are called on today to be both stars and wise men. It was a star that led the Magi to know where to find Jesus. In a world that seems so often to flounder in a sea of darkness we are called to shine, to shed our light on the difficult task of making sense of life. We are to offer the wisdom of God to a world that seeks true meaning.
We must presume that, when the Magi left, they returned home to tell other people about what they had seen and heard. It would be pointless to keep it to themselves. So too with us. We cannot leave it to those with theology degrees to let the world know what a difference believing in Jesus makes.
We must be Magi, wise men and women. A simple test of how we are doing as Magi in the 21st century is to ask ourselves how many people we brought to Christ last year. What sort of advert are we for Christianity?
Are we ashamed of the Good News or proud to let others know how much it means to us? And at the end of this new year how many people will we have led to Jesus by the light of the way we live?