First reading Isaiah 60:1-6

Above you the glory of the Lord appears

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth
and darkness the peoples.
 
Above you the Lord now rises
and above you his glory appears.
The nations come to your light
and kings to your dawning brightness.
 
Lift up your eyes and look round:
all are assembling and coming towards you,
your sons from far away
and your daughters being tenderly carried.
 
At this sight you will grow radiant,
your heart throbbing and full;
since the riches of the sea will flow to you,
the wealth of the nations come to you;
camels in throngs will cover you,
 
and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
everyone in Sheba will come,
bringing gold and incense
and singing the praise of the Lord.
 

Responsorial Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,10-13

 Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.

Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.

 

Second reading Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6

It has now been revealed that pagans share the same inheritance

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.
 

Gospel Matthew 2:1-12 

The visit of the Magi

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:
 
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
for out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
 
Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.
 

Reflection

The wise men from the East represent the nations of the world that already in Matthew’s time had begun to find in Jesus the answer to their searching and the fulfillment of their dreams.

We who gather at this Mass today are a sample of the many cultures that enrich this land. We also belong to a church that calls itself ‘Catholic’ because it is committed to the mission given us by Jesus to make disciples of all nations.

Like the Magi, each nation has its special gift. The church invites every culture to bring all that is humanly noble in it to Christ. Consecrated in this way, we could together build a civilisation of love.

In the words of Teilhard de Chardin, we are called to ‘harness for God the energies of love.’

As Jules Chevalier, the founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, wrote: ‘From the heart of Jesus pierced on Calvary, I see a new world coming forth: a great and lifegiving world, inspired by love and mercy; a world which the Church must perpetuate on the whole earth’.

Fr Michael Fallon msc