We need a group, a star, and some gifts: A homily for the Epiphany (Year B)

camels-1150075_1920Today, as we close the Christmas season, we celebrate the three wise men, the three kings, the magi–whatever you want to call them!  Their presence in our Christian story teaches us a lot…I want to focus on three things.

We need a group.  We really don’t know how many there were in the group with the Magi. We do know there were three for sure–Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar–but there is lots of speculation that there were many more with them.  Their journey from Persia to Bethlehem was about from here to San Antonio–about 1500 miles.  On a camel.  Caspar never would have made it without the other two…and the same for them.  We need a group to get to Jesus.  That is truth!  That is why God gives us families, why he gives us parishes, why he gives us groups within parishes.  We need holy friends to get to Jesus, to inspire us, to keep us going.  The journey is too long for us to make on our own.

We need a star. Without the star in the sky, the wise men wouldn’t have known where to go. The same is true for us. The Catholic Church is our star!  Without the Church, we are lost.  And if we ever want to reach the Lord–just as the kings wanted so desperately to reach him–then we need to look to our star, the Church!  We look to her timeless teachings, her doctrines of love, her precepts and commandments. So long as we look to the star of the Church and follow after her beaming light, we’ll get to the Good Lord in no time.

We need gifts.  God forbid we should show up to the Lord empty handed one day!  We give Jesus our everything.  That is the lesson of these kings.  Caspar’s gift is incense–a symbol of the devotion, prayers, and heart we are to give to God.  Melchior brought the gold–a sign of the temporal goods we give to God, including our money.  Balthazar gives the myrrh, the stuff used over bodies when someone died. It’s a symbol that we give Jesus our bodies, our lives. They don’t belong to us anyway!

My friends, we need a group, we need the star, we need gifts!  Praise the Lord he gives us everything we need!  There’s a great line in Eucharistic Prayer I about how we give to God what he himself has given to us.  In other words, even our gifts–it’s all God’s!  Praise the Lord.  Together may we follow after the star, may we seek Jesus and give him everything.  He is worth it.