Sunday Scriptures

Magi Discover God’s Answer To The World’s Darkness

by Father Caleb Buchanan

“THE SAVING GRACE of God for us may be delayed but never denied.”

I have heard a beautiful gospel song titled “His Grace Sometimes Be Delayed But Not Denied!” We gathered in the midnight darkness over two weeks ago and stood with the blessed in heaven who rejoiced in the words that rise up from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah — “A people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light.” The earliest returned exiled believers of Isaiah’s time rejoiced in the reality of God finally delivering on His promise to save them and vindicate them from the web of darkness and oppression they suffered all too long.

Today, Holy Mother Church all over the world rejoices with the blessed Three Kings and Magi of old in heaven. We rejoice with them despite the tiring impact of the world on our individual and collective sore eyes. God does not give into our weary eyes, narrow vision and traumatized eyesight. Thank God He does not yield to our spiritual malaise, sadness, spiritual amnesia, spiritual anesthesia, depression, disillusionment, discouragement, despair, apathy, pessimism, cynicism and negativity. The Magi are not some mythic figment of legendary, commercial Hollywood or even fictional evangelistic imagination. They are held by the Gospel of St. Matthew today, the sacred tradition of Holy Mother Church, and the undying belief of Kingdom-Christians as the premiere and privileged witnesses and role models of seeking, believing in and lifting up the saving power of the Glory of God in Christ Jesus in a dark and weary world, nation and society.

Incarnate, Risen and Cosmic Jesus Christ is the Presider and Great High Priest leading us in every sacred liturgy. At the Epiphany Mass this year, He reminds us through the first reading from the third part of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah that as the grace of God pulled cosmos out of the chaos, inaugurating a world to be born shining with His glory and light, and as His grace has shattered the bonds of exile and the weariness of the returned exiles, so has the Almighty and Eternal Father fulfilled His promise of salvation not only among the Jewish people, but every nation on earth. The heavenly Father revealed this promise to that sacred remnant of persevering returned exile believers and fulfilled in the manifestation of His Incarnate and saving glory in Jesus Christ, the Newborn King of the Jews.

The Lord Jesus Christ reminds us in Psalm 72 that He is the perfect fulfillment of the promise of a Messiah-King whose justice and wisdom will exceed the glory of Solomon and all the great Davidic Kings of old, shattering the darkness of the poor and outcasts for all the world to see and venerate. The Lord Jesus Christ reminds us in the Epiphany proclamation of the Gospel today that His justice will reverse the illegitimate and unauthorized captivity of God’s people in this world with a truly Incarnate, Divine and Holy Authority that will never end. This perfect Messianic stance ennobles the greatest of earthly kings, sages and potentates as the Magi ask, “Where is the One having been born King of the Jews?” Their question is the answer to the world’s darkness, which the Almighty gave them the wisdom to seek on behalf of the Mighty Savior.

The question is the answer to three questions: “Is this corrupt Herod, the legitimate King of the Jews in the sight of God and His Will for His People?” No. Where is the One having been born the King of the Jews? All evil and corrupt potentates and rulers who unjustly violate the dignity of God’s people will be confronted by the redemptive righteousness of this Newborn King. “Is the political administration set up using Herod as puppet to oppress God’s people legitimate?” No. Where is the One having been born King of the Jews? This Newborn King will inaugurate a kingdom with countless generations and believers that will advocate, defend and uphold the dignity of God’s children in the face of illegitimate political destructiveness. Is this newborn the ultimate Messiah, King-Priest promised from of old? Yes! That is the Father’s final answer. Yes! The world and all its peoples have every reason to rejoice for truly in the One whose glory the Magi beheld, we have the saving greatness of our God.

The Lord Christ Jesus proclaims the grace of this final answer as He celebrates this Epiphany Mass. He says through the Letter to the Ephesians in today’s second reading, that in us, Christian members of His Body who have been baptized and received the Eucharist, the Church, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, lives the proclamation of the fulfillment of the mysterious promise and plan of salvation for all peoples, not only the chosen people of old. That’s a great reason to join the Magi in heaven and render this Newborn King of every nation, the frankincense of your worship, the gold of your obedience and service, the myrrh of your patience and long-suffering.

Christ Jesus Victor! Christ Jesus Ruler! Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer! Vive Longe Christus Rex! Long live Christ the King!

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Readings for the Epiphany of the Lord:
Isaiah 60: 1-6
Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3: 2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2: 1-12
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Father Caleb Buchanan is the parochial vicar of St. Martin de Porres, Bedford-Stuyvesant; coordinator of the Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns, the diocesan West Indian and African-American Apostolates; and chaplain of Medgar Evers College. 

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