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Today’s text tells the story of the arrival of the Magi. It’s at the heart of our modern celebration of Christmas. This is the part that brings up the gift-giving! Curiously only Matthew tells the arrival of the Magi. If you remember only Luke and Matthew tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The other two gospels begin the story differently. There are plenty of questions that the text leaves us with:
• Who are these Magi?
• What is a magi?
• Were there only three? Or do we think there are three because they brought three gifts?
• And gold, frankincense and myrrh… what kind of gifts are those? Everyone knows that a family with a newborn needs diapers, formula and maybe some earplugs.
• What’s up with the Star? Why does only Matthew talk about it?
• And if everyone could observe the star, how come it seems as if only the Magi could see it?
We can easily get lost in all these questions, rather than focusing upon the underlying question: Matthew thinks this story is important. So what does it mean?
We see a connection between this story of the arrival of the Magi and the healing of the man born blind in Mark 8. Both the man and the magi are radically changed by their encounter with Jesus. They are not the same. And consequently they can’t just go home, back to the same old thing. They’re told to come home by a different path, or to return home but not through the village and all the limiting expectations that reside there. How were the Magi changed by their encounter with Jesus? And the blind man?
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION & EXAMEN:
• What engaged, enraged, or surprised you in these texts?
• What engaged you, enraged you, or surprised you in these texts?
• What is the meaning of the story of the visit of the Magi? Why would only Matthew tell it? What is he saying in telling that story?
• What does it mean that the Magi are told to go home by a different road?
• The blind man had to be touched twice by Jesus to fully recover his sight. He’s then told to go home but not through the village that has known him for his life and with his disability. What does that mean?
• What invitation do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you – or to us, as a church – to act, speak, be or change through this word of scripture?