Gospel Reflection – Sunday, January 7, 2024 – Matthew 2: 1-12 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Is 60,1-6)

Reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah:

Arise, turn on the lights, Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has appeared upon you.

Behold, the earth is enveloped in darkness, and dark clouds cover the people; but the Lord has appeared upon you, and his glory has appeared upon you. Peoples walk in your light and kings in the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes around you and see: they have all gathered together and come to you; Your sons are arriving from far with your daughters, carried in their arms. When you see them, you will be radiant, with your heart vibrating and beating strong, because with them the riches from beyond the sea will come and they will show the power of their nations; a flood of camels and dromedaries from Midian and Ephah will cover you; All Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and proclaiming the glory of the Lord.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (Eph 3,2-3a.5-6)

Reading of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:

Brothers: If you only knew the grace that God gave me to carry out his plan for you, 3a and how, by revelation, I became aware of the mystery. God did not make this mystery known to men of past generations, but he has now revealed it, by the Spirit, to his holy apostles and prophets: the pagans are admitted to the same inheritance, they are members of the same body, they are associated with the same promise in Jesus Christ, through the Gospel.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Announcement of the Gospel (Mt 2,1-12)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

When Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, in Judea, in the time of King Herod, behold, some wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem, asking: “Where is the king of the Jews, who has just been born? We saw his star in the East and came to worship him.” Upon learning of this, King Herod was disturbed, as was the entire city of Jerusalem. Gathering together all the high priests and teachers of the Law, he asked them where the Messiah should be born. They answered, “In Bethlehem in Judea, for thus it was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the chief cities of Judah, for out of you will come a leader who will be the shepherd of Israel, my people.” Then Herod called the wise men in secret and carefully sought to know from them when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying: “Go and get accurate information about the boy. And when you find him, tell me, so that I too can go and worship him.” After they heard the king, they left. And the star, which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it stopped over the place where the boy was. When the magicians saw the star again, they felt great joy. When they entered the house, they saw the boy with Maria, his mother. They knelt before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their coffers and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they returned to their homeland, following another path.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Refletindo a Palavra de Deus

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: Where do you find light in your daily lives? Take a moment to think about it. Perhaps it’s in the gentle and welcoming light of the sun that enters through the window in the morning, bringing a new day full of possibilities. Maybe it’s in the comforting light of a warm hug from a loved one after a tiring day. Or perhaps it’s in the bright and vibrant light of a child’s smile, reminding us of innocence and pure joy.

Now, I invite you to delve into today’s readings and discover the true source of the light that shines in our lives. The First Reading, from the prophet Isaiah (Is 60:1-6), speaks of a great light rising upon the people. It is a light that pierces through darkness and transforms shadows into radiant brilliance. It is a light that attracts all nations and causes them to draw near, bringing with them wealth and precious gifts. This light is a sign of the glorious presence of God among His people.

In the Second Reading, from the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6), Paul reveals a mystery that was disclosed to him: the unity of all nations in Christ. He writes that the Gentiles are now co-heirs, members of the same body, and participants in the promise in Jesus Christ. This union is an expression of God’s love and grace, which makes no distinction between races, origins, or cultures. It is a light that shines through unity and reconciliation in Christ.

And finally, in the Gospel according to Matthew (Mt 2:1-12), we find the story of the Magi, who followed a bright star to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King of the Jews. These wise men from the East, representing the pagan nations, recognized the greatness of the one born in humility. They brought valuable gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—and prostrated themselves before the Infant Jesus. This bright star guided them to the Source of all light and wisdom.

My brothers and sisters, what can we learn from these readings? What do they have to tell us about the light that shines in our lives?

First, they remind us that true light comes from God. It is the light that illuminates our path, guides us, and gives us hope. Just as the star led the Magi to the Infant Jesus, God guides us through the darkness and uncertainties of life. He shows us the way to truth and fullness of life.

Second, these readings remind us that God’s light is not reserved for one people, one nation, or one culture. It shines for everyone. Just as the Gentiles were included in God’s grace and promise in Jesus Christ, we are called to welcome all people as brothers and sisters, regardless of their backgrounds. We must overcome divisions and prejudices, recognizing the image of God in every human being.

Third, these readings invite us to follow God’s light with faith and generosity. The Magi left everything behind and embarked on a long journey to find the Messiah. They offered valuable gifts as an expression of their devotion. Similarly, we are called to set aside anything that hinders us from following God’s light. This may mean letting go of bad habits, forgiving those who have hurt us, generously sharing our gifts and talents with others. We must be willing to give of ourselves without reservation.

My friends, how can we apply these teachings in our daily lives? Here are some practical suggestions:

First, seek God’s light through prayer and meditation on His Word. Set aside time every day to be in communion with God, seeking His guidance and grace. Allow the divine light to illuminate your mind, heart, and actions.

Second, cultivate unity and reconciliation in your relationships. Recognize that we are all children of the same heavenly Father and are called to love one another as He has loved us. Seek reconciliation with those with whom you have conflicts, forgive and ask for forgiveness. Promote peace and justice in your communities, working together to overcome divisions and injustices.

Third, be generous in sharing your gifts and resources with those in need. Just as the Magi brought valuable gifts to the Infant Jesus, be generous in sharing what you have with those in need around you. This may involve donating your time, financial resources, skills, or simply offering words of encouragement and support.

Furthermore, be bearers of God’s light in your workplace, school, and community. Be living witnesses of God’s love, spreading kindness, compassion, and hope wherever you go. Be lights that dispel the darkness of despair, injustice, and discouragement.

My brothers and sisters, as we approach the end of this homily, I encourage you to embrace God’s light in your lives. Let it shine brightly, dispelling all darkness and bringing warmth and hope to your souls. Let this light inspire you to live lives of love, generosity, and service to others.

May we be like the stars that shine in the night sky, witnessing the greatness of God and pointing the way for those who are lost. May we be like the Magi, offering our best gifts to Jesus and recognizing His kingship in our lives.

And now, my beloved community, let us join in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for guiding us through the light of Your Word. Help us to follow this light with faith and courage, knowing that the Lord is with us every step of the way. Grant us the grace to be living witnesses of Your light in a world often shrouded in darkness. Empower us to love and serve one another, seeking unity and reconciliation. May Your light shine through us, transforming lives and bringing hope. In Christ our Lord, amen.

May God bless you, and may the divine light continue to shine in your lives. Amen!