Our January 7th Gospel is the story of the three “Magi” or three “kings” from Matthew’s infancy narrative. The infancy narratives in Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels are teaching stories that introduce themes of the Gospel that follows. Matthew is writing for Jewish converts to Christianity. He uses his Magi story to connect his hearers with references from Hebrew Scripture — such as Numbers 24:15-17, Micah 5:1 and Isaiah 60:1-6. Matthew is trying to help his Jewish converts to harmonize their beloved Jewish faith with their new faith in Jesus. This was important, because by the time he wrote — around the year 80 — Jewish Christians had been banished from the synagogues for believing in Jesus. Especially difficult for these Jewish converts was understanding that the covenant, which they thought was only for the Jewish chosen people, was actually offered to the whole world — as represented by these three foreign Magi from the East. Faith always has to stay open to new revelation even as it honors inherited beliefs and traditions. Just as Jewish Christians struggled to fit the newness of Jesus into their faith understanding, many of us older Catholics struggle to appreciate ways of being Catholic that seem new and upsetting to us. Other Catholics today struggle to see how the teachings of Pope Francis are in harmony with the faith they were taught. The Magi themselves were seekers of light. They followed a star to find new wisdom in a child, and honored that newness with gifts. Can you see how your own faith has let in newness over the years? How is the Lord stretching your expectations and assumptions at this time? What can you do in this new year to help your faith be “re-newed”?
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; Pixabay photo