Sunday, January 3, 2010

Epiphany and The Magi

Three kings, three wise men, the magi. It can be confusing. It really depends on the Bible version you use. I don't mean that one version means one thing and another means something else.  In Matthew chapter 2 is the story of the wise men coming to visit the child Jesus. Magi were members of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians.  When I looked this up in New Advent  encyclopedia it stated several things:

" No Father of the Church holds the Magi to have been kings." 

 "The religion of the Magi was fundamentally that of Zoroaster and forbade sorcery; their astrology and skill in interpreting dreams were occasions of their finding Christ." 

 "The Gospel narrative omits to mention the number of the Magi, and there is no certain tradition in this matter. Some Fathers speak of three Magi; they are very likely influenced by the number of gifts. In the Orient, tradition favours twelve. Early Christian art is no consistent witness:

•a painting in the cemetery of Sts. Peter and Marcellinus shows two;

•one in the Lateran Museum, three;

•one in the cemetery of Domitilla, four;

•a vase in the Kircher Museum, eight (Marucchi, "Eléments d'archéologie chrétienne", Paris, 1899, I 197).  
The visit of the Magi took place after the Presentation of the Child in the Temple (Luke 2:38). No sooner were the Magi departed than the angel bade Joseph take the Child and its Mother into Egypt.
Okay, so I guess we can take from all this magi were wise men not kings, even though we sing , "We Three Kings."  We are not sure how many wise men came, we just know there were three different types of gifts. We also learn that they were wise in astrology, following the position of stars. Interpreting dreams probably means they knew to take serious what their dreams meant to go a different way in returning home.
I am not even going to try and say what the star was but here is an interesting article from Notre Dame University that investigates what the star was:
According to Catholic that star has been the emblem for the magi since the second century:  A second-century scene of the Magi in the catacombs displayed a star, "and in front of them was the star they had seen rising, it went forward and halted over the place where the child was."
So what can we take from this story. I take that God leads.  God doesn't care rich or poor. He loves us and finds ways to call us all. We have to decide to follow.

No comments:

Dear Lord help us to educate our family for your glory.

"Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. For it devolves on parents to create a family atmosphere so animated with love and reverence for God and others that a well-rounded personal and social development will be fostered among children. Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs."--Gravissimum Educationis (one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council)

Helping and Loving Our Neighbor

Corporal works of Mercy
Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit the imprisoned

Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive all injuries

Pray for the living and the dead

Good Samaritain