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Gospel for Thursday, January 6: Matthew 2: 1-12

Epiphany of the Lord

1Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea at the time of King Herod. Some Magi came from the east to Jerusalem and asked:
2“Where is the King of the Jews who was born? We have seen his star rise, and we have come to worship him.” 3Upon hearing these words, King Herod was disturbed and with him all of Jerusalem. 4Gathering all the high priests and scribes of the people, he inquired from them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They answered him: “To Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written through the prophet: 6And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are not really the smallest chief town of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a leader who shall shepherd my people Israel.” 7Then Herod secretly called the Magi and had them tell him exactly the time when the star had appeared 8and sent them to Bethlehem exhorting them: “Go and inquire thoroughly about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so that I may also come and worship him.” 9Hearing the king’s words, they departed. And behold, the star, which they had seen in its rising, went before them, until it came and stood over the place where the child was. 10Upon seeing the star, they experienced great joy. 11As they entered the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and prostrating themselves they worshipped him. Then they opened their chests and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12Warned then in a dream not to return to Herod, by another route they returned to their country.

Mt 2: 1-12

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The Magi, “màgoi”, are astrologers who scrutinize the signs of the sky. Herodotus, an ancient writer, states that they constituted one of the six tribes of the Medes in Iran, a priestly caste.

Matthew does not say that the Magi were kings, nor that there are three of them. They carry gold, frankincense and myrrh: Giovenco, the first Christian Latin poet. he will say: “to the king, to God, to man”. They are the gifts for the Messiah: “May he live and be given the gold of Sheba” (Ps 72,15); “All will come from Sheba, bringing gold and incense” (Is 60.6).

But in this episode there is not only the meaning of Christ, but also that of the Church. The word “Epiphany” means “manifestation”: Jesus reveals himself to the nations. The page of the Magi is a solemn declaration of missionary spirit and universalism. This episode recalls the conclusion of the entire Gospel: “Go and make all nations my disciples…” (Mt 28:18). Two missionary pages that open and close the story of Christ, with a difference: in the episode of the Magi they are the people who arrive in Jerusalem, at the end of the gospel it is the Church sent to the world. This second note more profoundly expresses the conception of mission as service, as going out of oneself to go in search of others.

Each of us is a missionary by virtue of his Baptism, and therefore at every age we have been chosen by the Lord to announce his Gospel to all those we meet in the daily routine of our lives. But Jesus, before ascending to heaven, gave us another specific task: “Go and make all nations my disciples” (Mt 28,18-20); “You will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Therefore, the task of bringing the Joyful News to all people also weighs on all of us. Therefore the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reiterated: “The pilgrim Church is by its nature missionary” (Ad Gentes, n. 2); and invited “each community… to extend the vast network of its charity to the ends of the earth, demonstrating for those who are far away the same concern it has for those who are its own members” (Ad Gentes, n. 37 ).

We therefore speak of the mandatory need, at every age, to be missionaries “ad gentes”, to those five billion people who do not know Jesus, and to have “the same concern” for the problems of our communities and for those of distant populations. And here… the donkey falls! An elderly missionary, Father Natale Basso, writes: “The missionary commitment «ad gentes» is not something more for Christians who sympathize with the missions… It is very common to think that being interested in the missions is an attitude like the others, like for example the sensitivity for the poor, for the sick, for sacred singing, for which one chooses to belong to the missionary group, the choir, the liturgical group, the various forms of volunteering. The idea that the missionary commitment “ad gentes”… must therefore be lived in depth and with consistency by each individual has difficulty gaining ground, is unable to break through, is not convincing… Instead, missionary animation must coincide with Christian formation, permeating with a missionary spirit all the pastoral actions that develop the seeds of baptism in the individual and in the community: the liturgy, the catechesis, the entire process of Christian initiation… Unfortunately this is not the case. Missionary animation continues to be an activity parallel to the pastoral action and spiritual formation of Christians. The responsible subjects are different, the areas are different, the objectives and contents are often different… But a Christian community is not faithful to its vocation if it is not missionary. Either it is a missionary community, or it is not even a Christian community. Missionary activity is not a matter for specialists (those who leave) but concerns everyone. Whoever is called to leave must go; but how many are those who don’t answer and don’t go! Whoever is called to stay must give his collaboration; but how many are those who pray little for those who have left, or who send material aid slowly, even though they are convinced that they are doing who knows what… It is urgent to go against the current. If you have understood missionary spirit, don’t stand by and watch; If you don’t understand it and consider it an accessory, get busy, because you are a Christian who limps, who is missing a hand, or who doesn’t see well.”

Pope Francis’ warning applies to everyone: “God is always new, which continually pushes us to start again and change places to go beyond the known, towards the periphery and the frontiers”.

How beautiful is the initiative of the Misericordie who, in the “Spazio Spadoni”, are involved in the “Hic sum” Project to truly create a profitable exchange with the “sister Churches” of the most distant countries! How many, of all ages, leave for mission countries, where they leave behind treasures of human promotion and evangelization! And how many, while remaining in their countries of origin, continue to support the Mission “ad gentes” with prayer, with awareness-raising, with initiatives to collect economic aid!

That truly, by obeying our baptismal vocation, we can live it with a heart always open to the dimensions of the world, to the urgencies of all the men and women of the earth! “May the Holy Virgin, model of ready adherence to God’s will, help us to feel the charm of the Lord’s call, and make us available to collaborate with Him to spread his word of salvation everywhere” (Pope Francis).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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