The gospel of the Epiphany Sunday, tells us that Jesus, Son of God brought the Good News of salvation to people of all races. The Magi or wise men from another culture came to offer Jesus gifts for a royal messiah. Their homage symbolize Jesus as the saviour of all races and cultures. The Magi represent the Gentiles’ search for a saviour, they also represent our search. The Magi noted in the sky the sign of God and recognize its significant – they discerned in the world around them the mark of God’s activity. The lesson for us: see and discern! God our Father is always and everywhere displaying His purposes to us, being in this world, in the Scriptures, in the liturgy and we must see and discern. We must keep awake to what God our Father is calling us to be or to do.

They also went looking for Jesus and they found Him and they chose to worship Him. While themselves not Jews, this didn’t change the fact that Jesus was worthy of their worship and their praise. We think that one of the reasons Matthew includes this story of the wise men in his Gospel is to highlight from the beginning that Jesus isn’t just for a special group of religious people – or even just for the Jews. Jesus come to be a new King for all peoples. The Magi acted after their discernment and like them we must act in response to God’s call and follow where He leads us! Do we trust God our Father and seek Him in our prayer and reading His Word?

The adoration and the gifts they bring reflect Jesus’ role in salvation, gold is presented as representative of Jesus’ kingship. Frankincense is a symbol of his divinity because priests burned the substance in the Temple. Myrrh, which was used to prepare the dead for burial, is offered in anticipation of Jesus’ death. They also knelt on the ground to behold the Infant Jesus. Kneeling to Jesus Christ would keep us in good standing with God our Father. No matter how learned, powerful or rich we might be, before God our Father all our learning is folly, our power is weakness, and our wealth is poverty. To what extent do we rely ultimately on Jesus our Saviour in all that we think, say and do?

Another lesson we learn from the Magi is the “practicality” of the gift doesn’t matter as much as the gift itself. One of the traps we commonly fall into today when it comes to financial or non-financial offering/giving is “I don’t really know how the church is going to use this or I don’t know how practical it is for me to deepen my involvement in the Church and the community at this stage of my life?”. How practical do we think it was for the wise men to give gold to Jesus or do we think they were really concerned by what Jesus was going to do with that gold? The act of giving and the spiritual discipline of giving are more important that figuring out fully what’s happening with what we give. The Magi wanted to worship Jesus, so God our Father helped them do it. They came prepared to give. Like them we must also prepared to give our best to Jesus. Is God our Father calling you to action on behalf of the poor and vulnerable? Perhaps to make that call or visit the sick, lonely or distressed friend or family member? God our Father is always revealing His purposes to us, often in surprising ways and we must watch and discern His will, cultivating habits of watchfulness through prayer and scripture

Having encountered Jesus, the Magi returned to their own country by another way. When we have really encountered Jesus and experienced relationship with Him, we can only return from the encounter and experience in another way. We can not be the same. We cannot live as before. Our life, our choices, our priorities and attitudes must change; we must make God and Jesus the centre of our life and priorities. True encounter with Jesus is always life changing!