Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters in Christ,
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem would not be complete without "the rest of the story." Today we celebrate the most astounding development -- the coming of foreign scholars from Persia into Judea.
They arrive unannounced after a lengthy dangerous journey, not knowing where it would end and with the most astonishing explanation: They have followed a star which suddenly stopped over a place of appalling poverty and found a newborn and his parents. There at the manger they knelt and left their precious gifts.
How could they have known of this birth unless by divine knowledge, when even Herod, the local king had no knowledge of it?
Our first reading by the Prophet Isaiah foretold that gifts of gold and frankincense would one day be brought from foreign nations in tribute to a child born in Bethlehem. Written toward the end of the Babylonian Captivity, God inspired this prophecy to encourage the people who had suffered long enough.
It was St. Paul, however, who really gives us the meaning of the story. He tells the Ephesians that by divine revelation he has been told that the recent events of a Messiah who came to suffer, die and rise again was not just for the Jewish people, but also for the Gentiles who were now co-heirs in all the benefits of Christ's redemption.
What a hard pill this must have been for St Paul's Jewish listeners to swallow! Christ had come and died for ALL people!
Now thousands of years after this "showing forth" of the Messiah to these wise men, we, the Faithful, must remember that the Good News of Jesus Christ is for EVERYONE, and to share it even with those we may consider unworthy, even our enemies!
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bendigo in the Central Goldfields