Evening Thoughts: Sorry for being late with my thoughts today but I was covering a parish yesterday and today. We had the snow storm yesterday which made travel to and from the church in the afternoon and evening most interesting and my morning began at 5:00 am and I only got home around 3:30 pm so this is the first chance I have had to gather my thoughts for the day…
As I have said in years past, I have always liked the short story by Henry van Dyke call The Other Wise Man. It was made into a movie starring Martin Sheen called The Fourth Wise Man. The premise of the story is that there were not three wise men, magi, from the east but four. The fourth one, Artaban, is late to the meeting place from which the magi were to start their journey of following the star. So, he is always playing catch-up to the other three magi. He never catches up to them and so he does not meet the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. By the time, he gets there the others are gone and so is the Holy Family.
Artaban is determined to meet the Christ so from Bethlehem he sets out on a journey to meet the Christ. He wants to give him some rare stones, jewels, that he has brought along however Artaban misses every opportunity to meet Jesus because he is always stopping to help someone in need. He finally ends his journey after many, many years in Jerusalem. He is old, tired and disappointed to say the least. He has given all his precious stones away in helping others along the way. Thus, if he were to meet Jesus he would have nothing to give him.
Artaban finally does meet Jesus as he is carrying his Cross to Calvary. Jesus tells Artaban that he is thankful for his many gifts. Artaban doesn't understand because this is his first meeting with Jesus. He hasn’t given him any gifts! However, Jesus tells Artaban that his gift been his life. Every time he stopped to help someone it was a gift and Jesus is very pleased with the gift, in fact it is the best gift!
I firmly believe that Artaban represents all of us. At birth, we all begin a journey to meet the Lord, it is called life. We have many opportunities to encounter Jesus. Sometimes we miss him and sometimes we don't. Our gift is our life and how we live it. Each time we help others we add to our gift, each time we help others encounter Jesus we add to our gift, each time we live life to the best of our ability we add to our gift!
We find ourselves in a world that often does not recognize Christ. A world full of hate and violence. A world where leadership values social media more than truth. A world where charity, mercy and forgiveness has little value. A world that often disrespects the gift of life. A world that often fails to see people in need because we have our backs turn and we think only of ourselves!
The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord reminds us that Christ's presence and message is universal, Jesus came for all. Again, let me repeat that – Christ’s came for all of us! Not the most powerful, the most successful a chosen few. Jesus came for all. Our challenge is to bring that message to the world for Jesus by not turning our backs, by not holding on to our gifts but by sharing our gifts with whomever we meet! Let's us be seekers and continue our journey to find Christ today, in our time. In our lives, and then let us give him our gifts!
Happy Evening of the Epiphany everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...