Good Morning. Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a God who loves us.
As Christmas approaches I always set up my nativity scene with the manger on one side of my living room and the Three Kings on the other side. Each week of Advent I move the three men closer to the crèche as Christmas nears. I have always been particularly fond of story of The Three Kings. I mean what’s not to like, these guys roll up on their camels, blinged out in their gold chains, crowns and fur robes, carrying awesome gifts, paying for stuff straight up with gold, they are totally boss.
And while I love me some treasure, as Lasallians I call on you today to remember these men not for their riches, but as they are more appropriately referred to, as wise men. In the Gospel of Matthew we hear that these men follow the star that was prophesied until it stopped over the place where the child was. To achieve such a journey at the time of Jesus, these had to be men of education. They were researchers, scribes, scientists, mathematicians, astronomers, philosophers, mapmakers, and world travelers. These were clearly men devoted to knowledge. But there is so much more to understanding what truly makes them wise.
Picture it, after a journey of thousands of miles over rough terrain, these men of royal birth arrive in search of the King of Kings. They find him not in a castle or a five star hotel, but away in a manger. The great entourage of the Christ Child, his scared parents, away from their home in a land they did not know well, a few poor shepherds and their animals. Was this the great King of the world, was this what had been prophesized? The wealthy kings from the East may have easily dismissed these commoners, scoffed at their lower station, and took their gifts and head home.
But we know how the story ends. They do not leave or even look down upon this lowly group. No quite the opposite, they humble themselves, prostrate themselves and offer their gifts in worship to this poor infant child lying in the hay. Here in the manager, the rich and the poor, the powerful and meek, people of all different backgrounds and faith experiences come together in the love of our Lord, who is love itself.
Matthews Gospel says that having paid homage to the child and presenting their gifts, that the Wise men were told in a dream to not return to the land of Herod, but to return home another way. And yes another way could means a different route, but I believe there is more to it. Having encountered Jesus, the wise men went home another way, their lives changed forever. They give up their fortunes and gifts to the Lord. They turn away from evil and darkness. And live their lives another way.
It is no coincidence that one of our most important symbols in Lasallians culture is a star, modeled after the one that led these wise men to Jesus. Isn’t their story, our story as well? We too are called to encounter Jesus and to stand with the poor and marginalized, this will change your life, you will learn to travel the journey of life another way, a way closer to God and in service to all your brothers and sisters of the world. You will value education and knowledge and use that power to serve the least among us breaking cycles of poverty and injustice. Despite our differences we come together with people unlike ourselves to give our gifts in service to the Lord and our community. And in our service to the seemingly insignificant we are strengthened in our faith and zeal to follow in love of Jesus Christ. Together we seek God and it is together that we find him. Sounds pretty wise to me.
Let us Pray,
Dear Lord, Help us through this advent to travel another way, a way that reflects your unconditional love for all the world. Everything I am today is a gift from you. Everything I can be tomorrow is my gift to myself.
Morning Prayer: Brian Ciccone, Admissions Counselor; Social Studies Teacher