Matthew 2 - Following in the Footsteps of the Magi

“Let us also follow the Magi. Let us separate ourselves from our barbarian customs, and put them far behind us, so that we may see Christ—since they, too, would have missed seeing him if they had not been far from their own country…Let us also rise up. Though everyone else is troubled, let us run to the house of the young Child. Though kings and nations and tyrants stand in the way, let our desire not fade. In that way we shall repel all the dangers that we face.” (St. Joh Chrysostom, Homily 7 on Matthew)

What can we learn from the Magi? So often we focus on the gifts they brought, but St. John Chrysotom reminds us that they can also be a model for discipleship.

The Magi took a leap of faith. They traveled from far off lands—something that was not without a fair amount of danger in those days—to seek after the new King. They left behind their homes not knowing for certain if they would ever return, but they deemed it worth the risk. This really isn’t all that different than what the Apostles did when Jesus called them to follow him. They left behind their way of life to start out on an unknown journey not knowing for certain where it would take them. We too are called by King Jesus to follow him and to leave behind anything that would hinder us. We are called to give up our former lives in exchange for unknown adventure. Like the Magi, we bring with us certain gifts to offer to Jesus.

As St. John Chrysostom points out, the Magi also had to face the threats of “kings and nations and tyrants” who would oppose the coming of Jesus. Our own culture of death isn’t that different than the reign of Herod, marked by debauchery, immorality and the slaughter of innocents. But in the midst of so much darkness there is light and life found in the manger. One can only imagine the impact that encounter with the Holy Family had on the Magi as they returned home, no longer guided by stars, but by the word of God delivered by an angel. If will open ourselves to the risk and wonder of following Jesus and coming to know his great love for us all of our fears can be replaced by the assurance of his presence. 


Anonymous said…
I appreciate and enjoy the writings os St. John Chrysotum, since he has such a keen perceptive and ability to speak beyond the written word in his writings. Enjoyed this reading! BroJo (Klas)

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