Vocation Meditation -
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, 2011
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
What compels us to do something?
Most often, it is necessity: the need for the “basics” – like food, shelter, and sleep – that spur us to take some form of action.
In other circumstances, it is desire. Our appetite for rightly (and wrongly) ordered items creates a strong yearning for something and we act.
In today’s Gospel, we are presented with the magi, whose pilgrimage to the newborn King of the Jews is governed not by bodily need or desire but by the will of God.
The Lord desires that we know, love, and serve Him, and the magi respond by travelling an incredible distance to seek Him and give Him the gifts He deserves.
How faithful they were to God’s calling them through His creation, by the light of the star!
Why would they follow? Because they were accustomed to speaking to the Lord in prayer and listening closely for His response.
In the older Douay-Rheims version of Matthew's Gospel, the final verse from today’s Gospel is translated as: “And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.”
The magi asked God what they should do and they listened attentively for His response and they acted.
“And having received an answer in sleep...”
Do I take my questions about my vocation to the Lord and listen, night and day, for the answer He wants to give me?
Lord Jesus, Your coming was heralded by a bright star and received with joy by those who listened for your calling them. Through the intercession of the magi, grant me the grace to hear Your voice in whichever way You speak to me. Let me unify my will with Yours and act accordingly. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.