Two millennia later, I'm on the same page as the shepherds and wise men. I think our Lord's birth is cause for rejoicing. (Matthew 2:10; Luke 2:20)
"For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history...."Today is Epiphany Sunday, when the wise men arrive at the nativity scene in our living room, and we remember Matthew's account of the magi. As usual, there's quite a bit going on.
("Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Homily of Benedict XVI," (January 6, 2013))
Herod apparently saw our Lord as a feared rival: but told the magi he wanted to "do him homage." The magi, "warned in a dream not to return to Herod," bypassed Jerusalem on their way home. Then Herod had all male infants and toddlers in and around Bethlehem killed. (Matthew 2:8, 12, 16)
I'm not surprised that this particular set of killings ordered by King Herod weren't recorded.
By the time he died, Herod had arranged the deaths of one wife and three sons: plus quite a few other folks. Bethlehem was a small town, so reasonable estimates of the number of children killed range from a half-dozen to twenty. (Holy Innocents, Catholic Encyclopedia)
At the time, a handful of infants killed in some obscure town probably didn't seem important.
Meanwhile, Jesus was growing up in Egypt, and that's almost another topic.
Epiphany Sunday and the magi are very important to me, since the magi are "representatives of the neighboring pagan religions." They were the first of many gentiles who recognized Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 528)
As I've said before, I'm about as gentile as it gets, west of the Urals. When the magi arrived in Bethlehem, my ancestors were somewhere in the barbarian lands north of the western Roman Empire. (August 4, 2013)
We eventually started worshiping God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; stopped conducting human sacrifices; and joined the great procession. (January 19, 2010)
Epiphany is the end of the Christmas season. The next big set of holidays is the Easter season, when we remember and celebrate our Lord's life, death: and return to life.
I'm a little rushed this weekend, since there's a big family get-together that I don't want to miss: so I'll wrap this up with a few quotes.
"5 Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' "More of my take on the great procession:
"He said to him, 22 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
"This is the greatest and the first commandment.
"The second is like it: 23 You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
"24 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.' "
"11 Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
"Go, therefore, 12 and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
"teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. 13 And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.' "
"When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
"While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
"They said, 'Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.' "
"...Twenty centuries have passed since that mystery was revealed and brought about in Christ, but it has not yet reached fulfilment. My beloved Predecessor, John Paul II, began his Encyclical on the Church's mission by writing: 'As the second Millennium after Christ's Coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning' (Redemptoris Missio, n. 1)...."
("Homily of Benedict XVI on the Solemnity of the Epiphany," (January 6, 2007))
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