The Wise Still Seek Him – Homily, January 6

A number of years ago a home in the parish had a striking Christmas decoration. In the picture window there was a large silhouette shows the Magi following the star. The whole picture was in different shades of blue except for the bright light of the single star. The caption at the bottom of this beautiful scene read. “Wise Men Still Seek Him.”

The main message of this feast is that God’s love for us, shown in the life and teachings of Jesus and in his death and resurrection, is a love that embraces all humanity. We are all the ‘Chosen People.’ Paul tells us in our second reading: “In former generations this mystery of universal salvation was not made known to humankind but it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is the Gentiles, the non-Jews , have become fellow heirs, members of the same body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” St. Peter put it another way when he said, “the truth I have come to know is this, that any person of any nationality who does what is right is acceptable to God.”

Getting  back to that silhouette in the window and its message “wise men still seek him;” for many people any kind of religious education and formation stopped when they received the sacrament of Confirmation. Education in our faith is necessary, as St. Paul tells us; we have to give a reason for the faith that is in us. But the core of our faith in the personal relationship we have with Christ. Remember when Jesus asked the Apostles, “who do people say I am?” They all had different answers. But then Jesus asked the most important question of all; “who do you say I am” in other words, who am I to you? In order for each of us to answer that question we all have to seek that answer within ourselves.

Could any of us say what St. Paul said of himself and his relationship with Christ? “I live now not I but Christ lives in me and the life I life I live it trusting in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me.” Paul first encountered Christ in that famous meeting on the road to Damascus. Paul spent time in the solitude of Arabia probing the depths and the consequences of the awesome truth that God so loved the world he sent his son to the world and the Son so loved us he gave his life for us. Through prayer enlightened by the Holy Spirit Paul was overwhelmed by the love of the crucified Christ for him personally and for all others. Christ’s love for each of us compelled Paul in his many mission journeys. Knowing that love so personally Paul had to tell others. “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel. I preach Christ crucified, to the Greeks foolishness and to the Jews a stumbling block, but to those who are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Paul challenged the early Christian to grow to full maturity in Christ, to put on Christ. When Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus he initiated a deep and lasting relationship with Paul. The relationship grew through the years of Paul’s prayer life and the hardships of his long ministry.

That short message, wise men still seek him is meant for all of us. If we are wise then we know there is more to know about Jesus Christ and who is to us and what we mean to him. Through personal prayer, times or personal quiet when we think about his passion, especially shown to us in the Stations of the Cross we can come to a deeper awareness of that we mean to him. When we participate at any Eucharist we are touched by his love; “this is my blood – this is my blood – this is my life given for you.”

How often do we accept his gracious invitation “come to me all you who labor and find life burdensome and I will give you rest?” How often do we take the time to tell him our fears, worries our troubles trusting he listens, trusting he will see us through? Facing our faults and failings do we trust what Jesus teaches us about mercy and forgiveness in his parable of the lost sheep or his story of the Prodigal Son?

The Pope has declared 2013 to be a Year of Faith. In this year all of us are called to an authentic and renewed conversion to Jesus Christ. This year offers each of us the chance to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper personal relationship with him and rediscover that He means to us and what we mean to Him.

May each of us be among the wise who still seek him and make own the prayer,’ day by day dear Lord three things I pray, to  see thee more clearly, follow thee more nearly, love thee more dearly, day by day.