Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 02 January 2022
179th World Missionary Children Day
Isa. 60:1-6; Ps. 72:1-2,7-8,10-11,12-13; Eph. 3:2-3a,5-6; Matt. 2:1-12
The story of the Magi is moved by a question: “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?” (v. 2). Herod also asked the same question: Where will the Messiah be born? The chief priest and the scribes gave the answer after “asking” the Bible! This is the first point of today’s Gospel. We are the travelers and the pilgrims who always ask and seek where the Lord is. In Matthew 1, Joseph becomes the example, representing the quest of the Jews. The angels convinced Joseph that the Lord was in the womb of his fiance. He just had to admit and accept The Gift from God, so that Jesus could become the son of David at the same time. In Matthew 2, the Magi becomes the example who represents the quest of non-Jews. They are our “predecessors” who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to seek and find Jesus in Bethlehem. This feast day was used to be called Three Kings Day, now it is Epiphany. The emphasis shifts from human’s effort of seeking the Lord to His favor to be sought and found.
Second, the Lord is pleased to be found by those who seek Him. He is present as a grace, a gift from God in the form of a “Child” (v. 8, 9, 11). Matthew describes Him in a paradoxical way. On one side, the Child is passive. He is silent and doesn’t demand anything. He just keeps silent and waits: ready to receive anyone who seeks and worships Him. On another side, He is granted with great titles: King of the Jews, Messiah/Christ: the leader and shepherd of Israel. The political message is implied: Herod could indeed rule over the land of Judea (v. 1), but the Son will rule over “the Jews/Israel people” (v. 2 and 6). The Son is God’s anointed Messiah, not Herod Caesar’s puppet king. The Son is a shepherd-style leader like David, not Herod the power-crazed and blood-thirsty king of Idumean descent. The Kingdom of God is totally different from the kingdoms of this world.
Third, Jesus is the Light coming into the darkness of the world. The Magi was guided by Lord’s star to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It is obviously not the common star, that does not need explanations as in the theory of the astronomical phenomenon. Matthew is doing theology, similar to John Gospel: Jesus is the Light of the world. The darkness (Herod) would like to destroy the Light. Those attached to the position in the world (the Scribes and Chief Priest) suspected and would not come to the Light. On the other hand, the Magi came to the Light, for He is the “Light to all nations” and the source of joy for them (v. 10 cf Isa. 60:1-6, first reading). They teach us that seeking should lead to adoration. Worshiping the Lord means giving Him the best of us. After meeting the Lord, the Magi returned home using a different way. They had become different men: the men who had met the Light. Therefore, they returned back home without needing the guidance of the star anymore. They are now His light, for they had experienced the Light and are now ready to share Him to their neighbors. True adoration will lead us to a fruitful mission.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:
For Universal Churches: True fraternity
We pray for those suffering from religious bullying and discrimination; may their right and dignity be honored for we are truly all brothers and sisters as human beings. We pray…
For Indonesian Churches intention: Warding off the hoax
In the midst of unclear information, gossip, and hoax which easily attract our emotion, may we be able to respond to it with a peaceful heart and common sense. We pray…