2022 Epiphany I – Go Follow That Star


January 9, 2022

St. Matthew 1:9-10

“Go Follow that Star!”

No communications satellite in the sky overhead!   No access to the Internet to plan or print out directions in advance!  No cell phone to look up directions on the way!  No informative voice telling you to make a left or right turn after the next sand dune!   Having not even so much as a compass, the Wise Men were dependent upon a single Star to guide them to the location of the Holy Child.

St. Matthew describes them as ‘Wise Men,’ not as Kings, nor as having been Three in number!   ‘Kings’ was a later ascription given them from unassociated references found in the Book of Psalms.   And being of ‘Three’ in number is based upon the number of gifts which they gave the Holy Child.

However, it is believed they may have been early astronomers, thus with keen interest in the observable Universe (of course without benefit of the invention of the telescope!).   It was in fact their knowledge of where things should be located within the heavens that first caused them to take notice of a Bright Star they had never observed afore.   Realistically, what they did have assisting them was their knowledge of the heavens, placement of the stars and then-known planets, plus the most important factor of all, that Special Star!

At the time of Christ’s Birth, a remnant population of Hebrews were living in Babylon and in   all probability a small-sized population of Hebrews in Persia as well.   Potentially then, through contact with the Hebrews, the Wise Men became familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures, specifically with the great Messianic Prophesies dear to the hearts of the Hebrews.

Jeremiah prophesies: ‘I will raise up for David a Righteous Branch, and he shall Reign as King and deal wisely, and shall execute Justice and Righteousness in the land.”   Micah prophesies: “Bethlehem Ephratha, who art least among the clans of Judah, from you shall come (for me) One who is to be Ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old.”  The Book of Numbers contained this verse: “A Star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”

 Should the Wise Men have pondered those verses about the appearance of a future King of Israel, and the appearing an unusual Star in the heavens – they must have logically concluded that the Bright Star they had seen afore now as being highly important and as pointing directly to the Messiah King who would come to rule in Israel!  

In addition to the observable cosmic manifestation above, also must have come to them a Divine Revelation from above: More than the birth of a newborn king, this Newborn King was also Divine!  And the Star would lead them to the location where the God-King may be found!   There they would go to find, to acknowledge and worship the Divinity, and present Mystic Gifts to this young God-King!

This would not be a quick nor easy trip!    From their whereabouts in Persia (whence the three are supposed to have originated) across to Jerusalem was an arduous journey of between one thousand to two thousand miles overland by desert, done on camelback averaging about twenty miles per day, with each beast carrying its rider and approximately two hundred pounds of supplies, plus having to make needed stops along the way to rest, water the animals, and obtain fresh provisions wherever they could be find and purchase them, and with time every day to eat and to sleep.

Nothing indicates that they left immediately!  The journey would require several days of prepa-ration, and next, to complete such a journey could likely have taken anywhere from three months up to twelve months if impeded by sandstorms and unforeseen delays.  By the time of their arrival in Israel the Christ Child would have been nearing one to one and a half years of age.

Their Arrival caused a great Stir in Jerusalem.   Everybody, King Herod included, soon learned of their quest: to find the newborn King of Israel!   Herod immediately felt threatened!   He gathered his priests to glean whatever he could from them, but to no avail!   So, he gave order that the Wise Men be found and brought before him, and they so appeared!  From them he ascertained the time of the appear-ance of the Star; the length of their journey, then dismissed them bidding them to inform him as soon as they located the Child – on pretense of his own wish to see and worship the Child!

And they left but not unaccompanied!   For the Star they had seen afore again appeared and they took direction from it, following the Star some six miles southward toward Bethlehem!   Shortly after in Bethlehem they achieved their goal!   But the Holy Child was not to be found within a stable!   Long since out of the Manger and the disgusting Stable; the Blessed Virgin, Joseph and Child would greet the visitors from the East in new quarters: “And entering the House they found the Child.”  

And they worshipped him, presenting and offering to him Gold in homage to a Monarch, Frank- incense in recognition of his Divinity, and Myrrh in anticipation of his future Burial!  (Unusual gifts to present a child; but not this most Extraordinary Child!)   Next, being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they returned to their home country another way.   Without them Herod could not find or identify the Infant King; and thus gave order to Destroy All Children under the age of two years (his ‘over-kill’ measure to insure his Throne!).

     The Wise Men had found the Christ Child essentially by followingthat one Great Star!  And a wonderous Star it was!   The only map they had to confirm their suspicions about its significance and major importance was their acquaintance and knowledge of portions of certain verses from the Hebrew Prophets and Book of Numbers!

We also have means at hand to guide and light our way to finding, worshipping and following the Holy Child of Bethlehem – he, being the Fulfillment of the Prophets – and Messiah Saviour both of God’s Chosen People and the People of the Gentile World!

For purpose of Illumination on our way we have been given the Light the Holy Spirit!   For purpose of Direction, we have the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to serve as our reliable Road Map.   Thus, it would behoove us to consult, read and ponder them regularly!

For the purpose and intent of worshipping him corporately we have the Divine Liturgy of the Mass in which we Receive Christ in Holy Communion and receive too God’s Grace in and through the other Sacraments.   And for the purpose of Discovering God’s Will for our daily Lives, we recite our personal daily Prayers through which we may seek, come to know, and perform what most will Please and Honor Him.

The World gropes about in Spiritual Darkness; but ALL those who have Christ walk in the Light!

Star of Wonder, Star with Royal Beauty Bright – Guide this Darkened World to Christ and into Thy Perfect Light!  Amen.