Thursday, January 11, 2007

Today the Church celebrates : St. Raymond of Peñyafort

Saint John Chrysostom : “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.”

Book of Isaiah 60,1-6.
Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Psalms 72,1-2.7-8.10-11.12-13.
Of Solomon.
O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the son of kings; That he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment,
That abundance may flourish in his days, great bounty, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth.
May the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, the kings of Arabia and Seba offer gifts.
May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him.
For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help.
He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor.

Letter to the Ephesians 3,2-3.5-6.
if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, (namely, that) the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier. which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 2,1-12.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage." After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Commentary of the day :

Saint John Chrysostom (around 345 – 407), Bishop of Antioch, then of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church
Homilies on St. Matthew, 7-8

“They prostrated themselves and did him homage.”

Brothers, let us follow the magi, let us leave our pagan customs. Let us depart! Let us make a long journey so as to see Christ. If the magi had not left and gone a long way from their country, they would not have seen Christ. Let us also leave earth’s interests. So long as they remained in their country, the magi saw only the star; but when they left their homeland, they saw the Sun of justice (Mal 3:20). Or rather, let us say: if they had not generously set out on their journey, they would not even have seen the star. Thus, let us also rise up, and even if everyone in Jerusalem is troubled, let us run to where the Child is…

“On entering the house, they found the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented him with gifts.” What motivated them to prostrate themselves before this child? There was nothing remarkable in the Virgin or in the house, no object that could have struck their eye and attracted them. And yet, not content with prostrating themselves, they opened their treasure, gifts that are not given to a human being but only to God – frankincense and myrrh symbolize divinity. What was their reason for acting in this way? The same as that which made them decide to leave their homeland, to depart on this long journey. It was the star, that is to say, the light with which God had filled their heart and which led them little by little to a more perfect knowledge. If there hadn’t been that light, how could they have given such homage when what they saw was so poor and humble? If there is not material grandeur but only a crib, a stable, a mother who is lacking in everything, it is so that you might see the magi’s wisdom more clearly, so that you understand that they came not to a human being but to a God, to their benefactor.


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