Journeys and Gifts

“They saw the child with Mary, his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts…”

There are many aspects of this wonderful Solemnity that we can reflect on, but these few words from today’s Gospel give us a glimpse into how this celebration can focus our own search for Christ. The magi – foreigners, non-Jews – have seen a great sign in the heavens, and have come to acknowledge and honor a new king at his birth. They are searching; they are inquiring, they are following a light; this searching and traveling require effort, perseverance, sacrifice, and time, but it is important to them that they reach their destination. And they do: they find the house where this new king is dwelling, and they see him “with Mary, his mother.” The first thing they do is bow before him. Then they offer him the gifts they have carried with them.

We can find a parallel in our own spiritual journey. Our search for Christ happens in prayer and in the circumstances of our daily lives. Our searching also requires effort, perseverance, sacrifice, and time. We must prioritize our prayer time and our desire to follow the light of Christ over other activities and motivations. And like the magi, we can find Jesus “with Mary, his mother”; the woman through whom God came to dwell with us will always lead us to dwell with Him, as her role is always to bring Christ to the world and the world to Christ. Our prayer must always begin, like the magi’s, with humility: we must acknowledge Jesus as the Lord of all, as the king of our hearts and our lives, and adore Him. Then, the rest of our prayer will flow properly, including the offerings of our lives and ourselves that we make to him.

The magi offered gifts that expressed the truth about this small child in poor surroundings: this child is king (gold – a sign of royalty), this child is God (frankincense – a sign of our worship), this child came to offer his life for us (myrrh – for burial). What can we offer to this God-Man who set aside His glory to dwell with us and save us? How can our offerings acknowledge Who God is and our place in the Body of Christ? How can we help others see the profound gift that has been given to all the nations, making us all “co-heirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (Eph. 3:6)?
Today, let us rejoice in the revelation of the one true God to all the nations. Come, let us adore Him!

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is