January 8, 2016
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 60-:1-6; Ephesians 3: 2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2: 1-12
Magi only journey at night like the guarded secrets of dreams. 1
They were three who could easily be described as “starry-eyed dreamers.” They were three; seekers of an elusive promise, who ‘carelessly’ leave their homelands in pursuit of something or someone who could fulfill their hope. They were, as the Weston Priory song says, “following hopes and dreams that take them deep into the night.”
These three, who we call “wise,” choose to follow a star and therefore can only travel in the dark!
These three, who we call “wise,” have only starlight for direction, barely enough for only the next step!
These three, who we call “wise” ask the reigning tyrant to direct them to the real king!
When you think of someone who is a wisdom figure, what qualities come to your mind? I suspect they might not include dreamy, starry-eyed, nocturnal travelers, who could face arrest, at the least, and at worse, possible death for their naïve inquiry! Yet, we call them wise.
There are a multitude of symbols in this Gospel story. Several speak to the times in which we find ourselves today. Thousands of refugees are leaving everything behind in search of hopes and dreams of safety and peace. They too travel deep into the night of uncertainty with little or no light at the “end of the tunnel.” They are not welcomed in the “halls of power” or the lands of the prosperous. They cannot go home by a different route, for they have no home to go back to. For them, what does wisdom look like?
We who live in this country know the darkness too; we too travel in the night of our times. The difficult political campaign we have come through has revealed to us the divisiveness among us; the violence, racism and unrest that surrounds us; and the urgent seeking of so many for some “light” showing us the way out and forward. To what does wisdom call us today?
The three wise ones we remember today encountered a child who embodied their hopes and dreams, the Child who opened his heart to ALL who came, and to ALL who still come. We are called to be the wise ones of today. For then and now, “God is where God chose to be, living in you, living in me.”2
Let us seek the wisdom of these three wise ones, a wisdom that “is different than the world’s ways”3 but that does not fail to lead us to the Light and often Home by a very different route than we planned!
For Your Pondering
How do you define wisdom?
Who are the wisdom figures in your life? Why do you identify them as such? For whom are you a wisdom figure?
What are your hopes and dreams? What risks would be involved to bring them to life?
Recall times of darkness in your life. Who/what were the little pieces of light that guided you through those times?
Kathy McNany, OSB
1 From “Epiphany in Doubt” by John Shea
2 From “Nativity” by Sr. Maura Eichner, SSND
3 From the Rule of Benedict, Chapter 4, The Tools of Good Works