For a Holy-Name-of-Jesus homily (and some other enjoyables), click HERE.
For an early-bird experience of this Sunday’s homily, read on below…
For a thoroughly captivating mid-1980’s glimpse of Lady Grantham when she was still a young waitress in Fells Point, back when Mt. Vernon Square was still on the way to an Orioles game, and shimmered with cigarette ash, and driving around Baltimore could make any movie worth watching, and some scripts still coursed with drama of Hitchcockian richness, with characters that taught you things about yourself, if you are over 18, consider downloading/renting/honestly obtaining “The Bedroom Window.”
“Where is the king?” (Matthew 2:2)
The question fell a little awkwardly on the ears of the courtiers in Jerusalem. Because these eminent foreigners, thoroughly powerful and renowned, had asked the king where the king is. Awkward.
Where do we find the king? Might be a little awkward if we showed up in Washington and asked around, with the same question. Hey, Mr. President. Hey, Senators, Congressmen, Where’s the King?
Might be more than awkward. We might find ourselves locked-up. Citizens! This is a democracy. No king here. Spend some time in this padded room thinking about it…
The wise men sought the king. They knew Herod was not he. We, too, know perfectly well that the king we seek does not do cable-news interviews on any network.
But the human soul seeks her king, and always will seek Him, until she finds Him. That fact is no less true now than it was 2013 years ago. Doesn’t matter if we human beings live under a hereditary monarchy, or a republican democracy, or as islamist theocracy, or a communist-party oligarchy, or a dictatorship of relativism. We have no real peace until we find the king and do Him homage. Until we find Him, our own souls gurgle and froth with ungoverned chaos, like a destabilized nation ripe for a coup d’état.
The wise men, as you know, did not simply ask, Where is the king? They asked, “Where is the king of the Jews?”
For the moment, let’s leave aside King Herod’s own highly questionable status both as a king and as a Jew. That was an awkward business, in and of itself. Herod may have been a king, albeit a puppet-king of the Romans. But he could not really make the case that he was altogether Jewish.
But the non-Jewish wise men were making no comment on any of that. Rather, they came looking for the king of the Jews because they had learned something of singular importance. Namely, that the Jews worshipped the true God.
Now, what made the Jews people who worshipped truly, when all the others worshipped falsely?
It was not Jewish heredity that did it, the wise man knew that.
(Just like Pope Pius XI knew it, when he remonstrated with the Nazi party and referred to himself and all Christians as “spiritual Semites.”)
No, what made the Jews Jews was the fact that they systematically refused to worship anything made by human hands.
Nor would they worship anything made at all, even things made by divine hands. God made the sun; God made all the grand animals—eagles, lions, elephants, serpents, etc.; God made every human being—even the mighty Caesar of Rome. The Jews would worship none of these creatures. They insisted on worshiping the unseen Creator Himself. The Jews alone, of all the nations, endured the great, sweet agony of loving so unknown a god.
But then a star rose. The wise men knew that this star meant one thing: the invisible God, worshiped by the Jews—He had now decided to show Himself. The great Epiphany had come. Now there was a way to see the invisible, Almighty, unknown King.
And it turned out to be Jesus.
Where is the king? Good question, wise men. But really, come on, it’s easy. It’s Jesus. Here is the king that our souls seek. Here is the unseen God made visible. Here is the peace and salvation of creation. Jesus Christ. There is no other. He is the king.
Now, speaking of journeys and babies and Washington, D.C.: Don’t forget that Epiphany is the day for us to go home from church and immediately mark our calendars for the March for Life. The March will be held this year on Friday, January 25th.
If you don’t mind, I am briefly going to quote someone from one year ago. He’s kind of a big goofball, and he made it clear he was speaking for himself, but I think he hit it pretty much right on Epiphany Sunday last year:
If I don’t take a stand for the right to life, if I don’t march to the Supreme Court to declare my principled opposition to Roe v. Wade—if I don’t do that, what could I possibly have to say about anything?
My words would be hollow. My politics would just be blah blah blah blah. Everything else, all justice, stands on the foundation of the fundamental right to life of the innocent and defenseless unborn.
A third of my own generation has been killed in the womb, deprived of everything. This is terrible. We can’t just act as if this isn’t one of the worst things that has ever happened. Roe v. Wade is one of the worst things that has ever happened. We must object to it.
January 25th. We will have a long, hard day. The weather pretty much always stinks on March-for-Life day. But we will have a good time. We will return home—like the magi—footsore, exhausted, and happy.