Revelation of the Magi

December 22, 2021  •   Br. John-Marmion Villa
For Sunday, January 2, 2022
The Epiphany of the Lord
Seek and Be Found

 
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

When I walked into the hospital room that evening, there was Zoe, all wrapped up in a bundle of sleeping beauty, having been born only a few hours prior. She was laying on the hospital bed, lights subdued, soft music playing in the background, with her parents cooing above. I was invited to meet my goddaughter, her mom lifting the sleeping baby, and gently placing her in my arms for the first time. I sat down on a nearby chair, and all I could do was stare in silence, and whisper in prayer my commitment to be the best godfather I could possibly be for her. Zoe’s godmother — a budding photographer — took many photos of that first meeting, one that I recall with great joy.

Maybe the best way I can understand the story of the Visit of the Magi is to recall the day Zoe was born. Maybe this is one of many providential reasons why I was asked to be Zoe’s godfather, but also to have been invited to come so quickly to the hospital that cold night in November 2011. Maybe all the Scriptural commentaries I’ve read can help an intellectual understanding of the event, but no academic effort could have prepared me for what my heart felt as I walked into the hospital room. I understood the reason why there was a pervasive silence in that room, it wasn’t that Zoe was asleep. Rather, it was a reverential awe — an homage — of the mystery that I was walking into: the miracle of birth.

While I had not gold, frankincense, or myrrh, and while my introduction was not a one-time affair, I have learned how to “open up my treasure” — my availability and company — for that little one by way of pushing her on the swing, gifts for her birthday, walks through the neighborhood, surprise visits and ‘dates with godpoppa,’ and phone conversations. Many memories have been made and many have yet to be made.

This feast of the Epiphany — taken from a Greek word meaning ‘to reveal’ or ‘to manifest’ — is best understood, I think, when it is understood as a dialogue or relationship. Clearly, the Feast has the perspective of the Christ Child being revealed to the Magi who had been seeking him. But also, it has the perspective of the Magi “revealing their gifts” to the Christ Child. As Jesus’ life is about seeking what was lost, he would eventually find, as the Magi sought the answer to mystery of astrological anomalies, they would find its reason in a baby. But the more they sought, the more they’d find, and the more Jesus sought, the more he’d find too. This season, I’m grateful that he sought me out and found me … time and time again.

Br. John-Marmion Villa

 

PRAYER

O My God,
teach my heart where and how to seek You,
and where and how to find you.
You are my God and You are my all,
and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still, I do not know you.
I have not yet done that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You.
I cannot seek You unless You teach me
or find you unless You show yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desire,
Let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You,
Let me love You when I find you.
Amen

St. Anselm of Canterbury

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