Our January 8 Gospel is the story of the three “magi” or three “kings.” This story is from Matthew’s infancy narrative. Infancy narratives are the teaching stories that the evangelists Matthew and Luke used to begin their Gospels and introduce main themes. A major theme in Matthew’s Gospel is the conflict between good and evil. We would like to end our Christmas season with good feelings as we listen to how the three magi arrive at the house of the child, do him homage and give him gifts — something we ourselves long to do. But inside this lovely scene we meet this theme of evil against good: for King Herod had plotted to use the magi as spies to find the dangerous baby. But God’s providence intervenes. Through a dream, the magi recognize the evil, and they do not return to report to Herod where the child is. Recognizing evil is a talent we Christians must have in our holiness journey. We begin early to read stories to children with heroes and villains, helping children develop a talent for telling good from bad, and helping them desire to fight with the heroes for the good. As we listen to the rest of Matthew’s Gospel until next Advent, we will hear Jesus opposing the evils of his day. What about us? It is easy to make excuses for people, for ourselves, for businesses, for government and other institutions when bad actions occur. Recognizing evil is the first step in discerning what to do about it. Maybe it is just leaving the scene, like Joseph does when he moves his little family to Egypt for a time. Maybe it is some other way, a large or small action I take, to oppose evil, to effect a change for the good. How am I dealing with the evil I see in me and around me?
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia