January 3, 2021 At St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL
Isaiah 60, 1-6 + Psalm 72 + Ephesians 3, 2-3, 5-6 + Matthew 2, 1-12
There is something here that I find a bit ironic. These foreigners were trapesing all over the place with the expectation that God was doing something new. While the very people in whom this action of God was takin place did nothing. The very leaders of the chosen people did nothing at all. Those leaders at the time had worked out a relationship with the Roman Empire that allowed them to function as long as they did not rock the boat. They were content to read their scriptures and do nothing. In the meantime, those “Magi” allowed something to awaken their dreams and shake them out of their routine and their comfortable existence. They had no Abraham and no Moses with their stories, dreams, and faith. Yet, they believed they believed that life could be more than they knew, and without any details, they believed in a God of revelation.
We do too, and at least I hope you do. Yet we all muddle through our lives sometimes just barely making it from one day to the next. We hardly ever look very far ahead, and only on rare occasions do we look deeper into anything with wonder. Of course, we have all looked forward to that vaccine that will remove the constant threat of sickness. Some of us looked forward to election day so that we would no longer be insulted by outrageous lies, distortions and complaints about someone’s opponent. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome, we can all agree that we’re glad that’s over with. Those political adds seem to assume that we are all simple-minded fools who would believe anything they hear or read on a screen.
What Matthew puts before us today is a choice. We can either be like those leaders of the Jewish people and be content to keep things as they are accommodating the world around us, and just read the scriptures, or, we can be like these Magi who have big dreams and are willing to follow them even it means leaving what is comfortable, predictable, and traditional. In truth, those who just want to keep things as they are accommodating the world as it is are guilty of complicity because they never offer anything new or even expect anything new.
We call this Feast Epiphany. It’s a word that means manifestation or revelation. As people of faith, we don’t accommodate this world as it is because this world can be better than it is. Doing nothing new, never rocking the boat, is a kind of complicity that will not do for disciples of Jesus Christ. Just keeping your mouth shut when others around you are talking trash about someone who isn’t there is complicity. Saying nothing when someone spouts off with some opinion that racist, sexist, cruel, or immoral is complicity.
An invitation is being extended to us today. It is an invitation to become a Magi, a seeker, a dreamer, or perhaps better called Wise.