Tuesday, January 9, 2018

King, God and Victim for all

JANUARY 7, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you.

Wise men coming from the East came searching for the new-born King of the Jews. Finding the Child with Mary his mother, they prostrated before him and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It is about this day that we sing: May 3 haring nagsidalaw at ang bawa’t isa ay nagsipaghandog ng tanging alay. Today should be the gift giving day. Gift giving, which has become an essential part of the Christmas, derives its meaning from the story of the magi.

The magi offered gifts because they understood that the baby before them was the primary gift of that day. The Child Jesus is the Father’s gift to all humankind. Being gentiles, these wise men were not Jews. They did not belong to the chosen people of God. And yet, they recognized the fact that the Child Jesus was also given by God to them. They offered gold because Jesus is King not only of the Jews but of the whole world. When Jesus was crucified, Pilate had an inscription placed on the Lord’s head which read: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. It was written in 3 languages – Hebrew, Latin, and Greek – not only for purpose of wider intelligibility but also to symbolically point to the universality of Christ’s kingship. He is King of all nations. “All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.”

They offered frankincense because Jesus is God not only of the Jews but of the whole world. They prostrated before him and worshiped him because every nation on earth will adore him. They offered myrrh because Jesus is the Paschal Victim who will die for all humanity. Myrrh is used to anoint the dead in preparation for their burial.

Jesus is the Father’s gift not only to the Jews, but to all of us. “The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Because he is given to us, we should offer him the gift of ourselves. “He wanted the pure gold of a heart detached from all earthly goods; the myrrh of a renunciation of all the happiness of this world in exchange for participation in the life and suffering of Jesus; the frankincense of a will that surrenders itself and strains upward to lose itself in the divine will. In return for these gifts, the divine Child gave us himself.” (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) Such gift can come only from a sincere conversion of heart. The Magi returned to their country by another way. This does not only mean that they did not return to Herod. It also means that their encounter with the Baby Jesus was a life-changing encounter. They were never the same after this encounter. Detachment, renunciation, and surrender were the response they gave to this wondrous gift of God’s only Son. Today, God’s love is revealed…his love for all of us. We can only respond to this by turning away from our worldly lives and by setting our hearts on the true gold which is the treasure of eternal life. We burn our own will and surrender so that it may rise up to God as a pleasing spiritual offering. We anoint ourselves with the myrrh of self-denial. Dying to ourselves, we unite ourselves with the sufferings and death of Jesus. It is only then that we shall be overcome with joy because such a conversion of heart will clarify our vision and lead us like a star to Jesus. There, we shall prostrate before him. We shall open to him our hearts. “For in sacrifices you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled and contrite heart you will not spurn.”

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

No comments:

Post a Comment