We begin with a beautiful vision from the prophet Isaiah that foretells the coming of Jesus the Christ:

“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you… Raise your eyes and look about…  Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of the nations shall be brought to you…  All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”

Can you open your heart to this vision and allow it to uplift your spirit and fill you with hope?  Herod could not.

Then listen to St. Paul today: “You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.”  Can you open your heart to this revelation of grace?  Herod could not.

Herod could not accept this vision of life and love because he harbored darkness within.  His darkness consisted mainly of fear, insecurity, and jealousy.  He had all the power in the world; he was a wealthy man.  But he was threatened by the birth of the child Jesus who would fulfill this vision and this revelation.  And so he sought to have the child destroyed.

The three kings came to pay homage to the child Jesus.  This visit of the magi signals the revelation of the birth of Christ to all the nations.  Having celebrated Christmas, we are now invited to receive the gift of the whole Christ, the Son of God who was not only born in a stable but lived a powerful example of love, gave His life on the Cross for us, and conquered death by rising from the dead Himself.

As we now move into a new year, the challenge before us is to open our hearts to this vision and this revelation given us by Isaiah and St. Paul.  Herod could not do this because of the darkness within.  Is there darkness within us that prevents us from opening our hearts to Christ?  Bring that darkness to Christ; tell him of your fears and insecurities, your jealousy, your anger, your hurt.  Give all of that darkness over to Christ and then His peace will take root in your heart.

We first need to do the homework of bringing our darkness into the light of Christ.  It is our responsibility in the stewardship of grace.  This is a good way to begin the year.

Happy New Year!

Father Jim