Homage to the King of the Jews and of All Nations

by | Jan 3, 2024 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus is the Prince of peace and sovereignty rests on his shoulders. We get to him, so we may do him homage, by the way of the Magi.

Magi from the east turn up in Jerusalem. They seek the newborn king of the Jews, so as to do him homage.

Herod hears this, and he is troubled and all Jerusalem with him. For this appointee of Rome as the king of the Jews fears for the throne he has usurped. For their part, those who live there fear the harm the king might do to them to let off steam.

And he, in the end, tells the Magi to look for the child in Bethlehem. He asks them, besides, “When you find him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” Herod, of course, does not mean to do the child homage. Rather, he means to get rid of him, a rival to David’s throne.

So, it is clear that Jesus, early in life, does not get a warm welcome from those in power. The leaders of worship and the scholars of the law and the prophets know where to find him. But they do not care; they do not bother to look for him. They are afraid to leave their seats of power, wealth and influence.

And the despot just wants his rival dead. For he cannot bear the thought of no longer being first, of not being lord and tyrant over others.

The only truth, then, that Herod, the chief priests and the scribes seem to know is themselves. It looks like it is just their own interests that they care about.

See and grasp the bigger Truth that is worthy of our homage.

No, the Magi do not know the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet they look to the sky for signs of the fuller truth. They admit thus that they do not know the whole truth. They sense that it is bigger than themselves. Are they not, then, of the group to which Jesus says, “Not so with you”?

But the Magi do not just search for and read the signs in the heavens. They also embark on a long, hard and risky journey. There are times when, not seeing the star, they face uncertainty, and when they see it shine, they rejoice. But in the end, they find the one they are looking for. For those who seek the Lord with all their heart find him (see Jer 29, 13). So, these who are not of Jesus’ own folks receive him and he welcomes them.

And you have got to hand it to them that they see the King of the Jews in a child with his mother Mary. The two are in a house, not a palace. But just the same, the Magi fall on their knees and do him homage. “They turn the medal” and they see in him the Son of God (SV.EN XI:26). They bring him, besides, gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. That is to say, they see  he is of great worth and worthy of homage. He deserves, besides, care and caresses, not hostility and hate.

But we really cannot outdo this child in giving gifts. For he himself is God’s gift to us. He also, in the end, will give his body up and shed his blood for us.

Lord Jesus, grant us who believe in you to do you true homage as we serve those who are poor in the way you served them.

7 January 2024
Epiphany of the Lord
Is 60, 1-6; Eph 3, 2-3a. 5-6; Mt 2, 1-12