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Arise and Shine (Matthew 2:1-12)

For most of us, the Christmas tree is already down, and we have put away our favorite Christmas albums for the year. Thank you cards still need to be written (yes this is still proper etiquette), and the kids are back to school. But God is not done revealing His Son to us.

The Feast of the “El Dia de Los Reyes,” or the Feast of the Epiphany, has become a special feast day to me as the New Year begins. It’s a reminder to “search diligently” for Christ, “do Him homage,” and present ourselves as a gift to Him in all we are.

As I reflected on the gifts the Magi presented to Christ of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, I examined my offering to Christ.

The Star

The Magi were guided by the star Isaiah prophesied, “Nations shall walk by your light,

and kings by your shining radiance” (Isaiah 60: 3). This caravan was not easygoing. It took weeks and careful preparation. The stars were their GPS, and I hear traffic was insane on Highway Bethlehem. But nothing held them back from making the journey; they were adamant and determined to pay Him homage.

So what is our excuse not to get to daily Mass, or carve out time for confession once a month, or take a holy hour of adoration every week? I have found as a minister we often make ministry our prayer, neglecting a relationship with Christ for ourselves. Do you have a community outside your parish that feeds you? Possibly a prayer group with other women or men?

We need to be following a light other than the ministry and liturgical calendar that calls us to ritual a few times a year. How can God guide your heart this year and reveal His Son to you in new ways?

Gold

The gold that the Magi gave to Christ represented His royalty, divinity, and kingship that cannot be destroyed by worldly powers. So often in ministry, we rely more on our strength, giftedness, and position than the power and Kingship of Christ. The gold of the Magi reminds us to reflect on Christ as our King, not our pastor, parish administrator, the parents and teens we serve, or our need for affirmation and recognition. How can you allow God’s Kingship to guide you and your ministry this year more than other’s expectations?

Frankincense

This strong incense is a symbol of Christ’s priesthood. Through our Baptism, we are made a priest, prophet, and king. This anointing calls us to humility, speaking words of truth, and sacrifice. St. Irenaeus said that God “became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”

In this year of mercy, we are called to be a balm of healing, a light of hope in a world of darkness. It’s easy to do this in our ministry because it is expected of us, but God is calling us to do this outside the doors of the church; in our families, to strangers, our neighbors, and co-workers, the teens we encounter at school visits and coffee shops. How can you live out your Baptismal calling in the coming year?

Myrrh

Myrrh is perfumed oil used to anoint a body in preparation for embalmment and burial. The myrrh reminds us of Christ’s humanity and mortality. This prefigures Christ’s suffering and death that will rid the world of sin and bring us salvation.

Myrrh should keep us on our toes and embracing the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It should alert us to the second coming of the Lord. Whenever we smell someone’s fragrance, may we be aware of the fragrance of Christ and that we are called to spread His fragrance everywhere we go.

The Magi didn’t leave the home of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, the same men. Their encounter with the newborn King altered their destination, home, and life. Every time we are in the presence of Christ, whether at Mass, in adoration, or in one another, we should be altered.

May the presence of Christ in your life alter you and allow you to be led by the light of God.

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.