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Not the Star, Jesus is the Way

Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12
We love to be stars, we struggle hard to distinguish ourselves, we want to be different. Our society looks for talents: American Idols, The Oscars and Emmy Awards, Canadian Screen Awards, Big Brother Naija, Britain’s Got Talent, etc. Today, Epiphany Sunday, God proposes to you and me how to be stars, not for the earthly fame and money that come with it, but a singular life changing STARDOM – a possessor of salvation!
The language of the first reading and the drama of the gospel reading give us a perspective on the message of today’s solemnity, since every solemnity, no less every Sunday, addresses a mystery of our salvation. What mystery of salvation do we celebrate today, if not the universality of salvation – that all men and women have been offered salvation in Jesus, even though every human being must work out his or her salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12)? The imageries, in our first reading, of light and darkness, thick cloud and glory, the God who shines on his creatures and gathers his children from all corners of the earth, tell the power of God, who brings light out of darkness, and pours down righteousness and praise through the clouds, instead of rain. These actions are impossible for human beings, but not for God. In order to show us how he has done so – brought light out of darkness, glory out of a thick cloud – today’s gospel tells how the light of a star leads the seekers of God, the magi, from the East to the Baby Jesus. How, when the star disappeared, God displaced the plans of Herod and made the star reappear to lead the magi and shepherds to the venue of the Nativity. In fact, no human machinations and manipulations can frustrate the powers and workings of God.

God’s plan, Epiphany, is that you and I are to become children of God!

  Our second reading makes it clear that God made his universal plan of salvation ages ago, but revealed it in Jesus Christ. God’s plan, Epiphany, is that you and I are to become children of God! Our citizenship cannot be hijacked either by our sins or the disruptiveness of the devil. The light of God shone in darkness and the glory of God descended through the clouds, like the Shekinah of the Old Testament, have announced our citizenship as children of God. Even today, darkness still threatens the light of God among us – like Herod trying to kill the infant Jesus – but darkness will never dominate light!  Lest we forget, there is a future glory which awaits us, so our offer of salvation has a future salvation, and that is where the wager is.  

holy family life camp

Many do not seem to ask how did the magi return home, since the star disappeared! We are told that the star stayed over the place where Jesus was born. The light of science led the magi to the Savior, not before they wondered to Herod because the star disappeared momentarily. The reappearance of the star was to lead the magi to their destination, a person, not a town, not a village. Now that they have seen the Savior, their scientific knowledge, their ability to read stars, became useless because there was no more star to read; yet, they needed to retrace their steps back to their home land. How did they find their way back home, what kind of knowledge led them home, then?  

When Jesus took up his residency on earth, astrology could lead the magi to him. Today, Jesus lives in glory, where no technology can provide his coordinates. The challenge of today is the ability to hear and heed the alternative voice and science which God puts deep within us – the voice of a formed conscience. Our world needs the docility that leads to God, beyond our technological know-how. Technology, like the star of the magi, only leads to an earthly destination, only revelation and the voice of an angel could direct us to our final destination. God provided dreams and directives from angels for the magi to access their way home; not earthly home, but celestial home. Indeed, the direction of a star leads to Herods – obstacles on our way to God, but the voice of God reroutes away from Herods to God.  

“Not the Star, Jesus is the Way”. The star has left the sky to dwell in you and me. Your life and my life must become the science that leads others to God;

The proof that you and I are children of God is determined by the star and GPS that we follow, JESUS – the Way, the Truth and the Life. In our various sciences, that is, the jobs we do, God speaks to us and leads us to himself, just as astrologers (magi) followed the star to the Savior. The ability to see God through what we do; our  attentiveness to God’s presence in all the circumstances of our lives; indeed, Emmanuel, God-with-us, is the sole guarantee of salvation, every other thing is just a sign and pointer to salvation. Yes, “Not the Star, Jesus is the Way”. The star has left the sky to dwell in you and me. Your life and my life must become the science that leads others to God; our knowledge of Scriptures must be our light, and only fidelity to God’s Word can lead us to God!  

Assignment for the Week

Share a Scriptural reading with someone this week.  

By Fr. Ayodele Ayeni, a Spiritan

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