Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,
The feast of the Epiphany, the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles lies behind us , but a joke received about no nativity play this year in Canberra ( the Australian seat of the Government ) made me produce this blog about the wise men in society, well are they wise or not ?The joke was as follows: the Civil autorities in Canberra decided last year to have no nativity play to be held in Canberra. What was the reason? They could not find three wise men . They are still looking for a virgin.
However there was a bit of good news, they could find plenty of donkeys.
I did laugh, knowing the politics of our Colition Government , I could well indentify with the no wise men concept. What is a wise man then? A person having or showing expert knowledge, good judgment and making wise decisions. I and many others in this country question the good judgement and the wise decisions bit.
It is not only confined to politics, but also in the Church and in the workplace.
Bishops and the Church hierachy often make changes to the Liturgy of the Church, the way we celebrate Mass and frankly speaking these changes are not wise changes. One of the worst part of these changes are all the Catholic Christians they chase away to hopefully another spiritual home and in the worse scenario these people stop worshipping at all. One of the most unwise decisions I think it is to celebrate the Mass ad populum, with your back to the Lord Jesus Christ.It makes no sense at all.
As our God is a wise God , He planned the Epiphany well, and here are some background notes to that effect.
We know that the magi were wise men from "the East," most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wise men traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ child. Most likely, the magi knew of the writings of the prophet Daniel, who in time past had been the chief of the court seers in Persia. Daniel 9:24-27 includes a prophecy which gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. Also, the magi may have been aware of the prophecy of Balaam (who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River near Persia) in Numbers 24:17. Balaam's prophecy specifically mentions a “star coming out of Jacob.”
The wise men were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the “Star of Bethlehem,” which they called “His star” (Matthew 2:2). They came to Jerusalem and asked concerning the birth of Christ, and they were directed to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4–8). They followed God’s guidance joyfully (Matthew 2:10). When they arrived in Bethlehem, they gave costly gifts to Jesus and worshipped Him. God warned them in a dream against returning to Herod, so, in defiance of the king, they left Judea by another route (Matthew 2:12).
So, the magi were men who 1) read and believed God's Word, 2) sought Jesus, 3) recognized the worth of Christ, 4) humbled themselves to worship Jesus, and 5) obeyed God rather than man. They were truly wise men!
Christ was thus manifested to the Gentiles, but it is our task to continue this manifestation in our times.
Wisdom is to be prayed for and to be obtained for this. When we live our lives and handle things just if it was Jesus, who had to make the choice, then we are wise men and women.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania