We heard these words spoken to Abraham last weekend on the Feast of the Holy Family: “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.”
This weekend we meet the Magi following a star. These stargazers interpreted the stars as telling them a “king of the Jews” had been born. Could it have been the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn which some of us witnessed recently on December 21st? Maybe. Regardless, they trekked to Jerusalem, and asked the reigning king, Herod, for information. He asked the chief priests and the scribes of the people who informed him and the Magi that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of a ruler who would shepherd Israel. So, they continued their journey, following the star which stopped over the house where they saw the child and his mother, Mary. Having been warned in a dream (dreams were important in Matthew’s Infancy Narrrative), they went home by another way, thus spoiling Herod’s plan to make them co-conspirators.
Today’s feast is called the Epiphany or Revelation of the Lord. The tragic irony in Matthew’s account was the pilgrim pagans travelled a great distance because they believed God, or the gods, was doing something astounding and wondrous while the leaders of the chosen people who had the words of the prophets in their Scriptures did not believe the Lord was doing anything and did not accompany the Magi to their destination. The leaders were comfortable and secure because they had worked out an understanding with Roman occupiers that allowed them to practice their religion under Roman rule as long as it didn’t cause any problems to Rome. And then the Magi showed with news of a new born king! No wonder that Herod, and all Jerusalem, was greatly troubled.
At the beginning of a new year (thank God, because 2020 was the pits), the Magi invite us to look for epiphanies of God among us, to allow the mysterious workings of God to pull us out of our comfort zone, and to welcome new hope for the future. Like the Magi, we are journeying toward God. We really don’t know exactly what to expect, but “we know that all things work for good for those who love God”.
 Gen. 15:5
 Romans 8:28