The Epiphany of the Lord
1) Is 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13
2) Eph 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel: Mt 2:1-12
Have you ever wondered about the Magi after they returned from worshipping the baby Jesus? Was there a new bounce in their step, knowing that God was unfolding his plans for humanity? Did they talk with their wives about how God had guided and protected them on their camino?
They seem to have been sincere in their search for the king born to the Jews. Presumably they entered Joseph and Mary’s dwelling receptive to the impact this young Lord might have on them. I would suppose they went away with some sense of the direction of his kingship and a desire to cooperate with it.
In the psalm response in today’s liturgy, we are told about the nature of his rule.
“O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment” (Ps 72:1-2).
The words “judgment” and “justice” are spoken twice. In many places in the Old Testament, these two words go together to express a single idea, the way “rules and regulations” and “ins and outs” and “will and testament” go together to express a single idea. The idea of “justice and judgment” is social justice — a just ordering of society.
To bring justice and judgment is to ensure that society operates for the benefit of everyone. A society of justice and judgment has customs and structures that enable poorer and weaker members to live and to take part in social life.
This is the kind of society the Lord seeks, the psalmist is telling us. It is the kind of society he intends to bring about.
I wonder whether the Magi picked up on that during their time in Bethlehem. When they got home, did they gather the gold, frankincense and myrrh they had not taken with them and begin to devote these considerable resources to the aid of their needy neighbors?
If they were — as they are often depicted — kings, did they make changes in their realms to support the citizens who were on the margins of society, to enable them to make their contribution?
What about us, when we go home from worshipping the Lord at today’s liturgy? What about our resources? What about how we operate in our classroom, garage, dental practice, condo association, parish, restaurant, bike shop or whatever our “realm” might be?
Perrotta is the editor and an author of the “Six Weeks With the Bible” series, teaches part time at Siena Heights University and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.