Sunday, 4 January 2015

TODAYS WISE AND TODAYS FOOLISH

TODAYS WISE - AND TODAYS FOOLISH

Feast of Epiphany 2015 - The Oratory Larne



Today we keep the Feast of The Epiphany. Epiphany means a moment of sudden and great revelation or realisation.

Its a very appropriate name for the moment the Three Wise Men came from the East - the non Jewish world - and found The Christ - the Son of God.

They also discovered and proclaimed that Jesus was not only God's gift to the Jews - but God's gift to the whole world - people of every time and place - including us gathered here in Larne today.

Tradition and legend tells us that the three wise men were called Gasper; Balthasar and Melchoir.

Gasper means: "treasure"; Balthasar means: "the king's protector" and Melchoir means: "king".



The three wise men brought God's infant son the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They were from Persia and they brought Jesus three precious gifts because in their culture "inferiors" always approached their "superiors" with gifts. In bringing Jesus gifts the three wise men were acknowledging that Jesus was "superior" to them.

On this feast we are inclined to always emphasise the fact that the three Magi gave gifts to Jesus. 

But this is not the deeper meaning to this incident.

Of course they were there to GIVE. But what gift can any man or woman, especially a wise man or woman give to God? God is the Creator of all - Author of all. God "owns" every thing and every one. 

So in offering Jesus - the Son of God - three little gifts from his own creation the three wise men were acknowledging Jesus as God  and also ASKING God for a gift!

 What gift did the tree wise men need from God?
- Not clothes - because they were dressed as kings.
- Not gold - they had al the gold they needed.
- not power - they were kings with subjects.

The three wise men wanted through and from Jesus a gift that they regarded as PRICELESS - a gift they didn't and couldn't have enough of - the priceless gift of WISDOM.



There was another king in the Bible who wanted the same gift from God. His name was Solomon. 

God appeared to Solomon and offered him anything he wanted. Other kings would have asked for greater wealth; bigger armies; more power; beautiful women. But Solomon surprised God. All he wanted was WISDOM. And God said to him:

"Since you have asked me for this; and not for long life, or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies, I will do what you have asked".

God gave Solomon so much wisdom that people came from the ends of the earth to seek his wisdom and advice. 

And even today, thousands of years later, if we speak of a wise man we say: "He has the wisdom of Solomon".

If God appeared to any of us here today and promised to give us anything we asked him for what would  it be we would ask? A win on the lottery? A better job? A more loving partner? Better health? A long life?

If we had our wits about us - if we had our priorities right - if we were true Christians - would we too not ask him for the gift of WISDOM?

The WISDOM that makes us people of Faith? People of Prayer? People of Generousity? People of Giving? 

Because if we had that wisdom we would be TOLERANT; FORGIVING; NON-JUDGEMENTAL; WITHOUT PREJUDICE; OUTREACHING AND ALL INCLUSIVE.

The opposite of being wise is to be:

FOOLISH.
STUPID.
IGNORANT.
MATERIALISTIC.
INSINCERE.

On this feast we all need to ask ourselves the searching question: "Am I wise - or am I foolish"?

And we must answer this question honestly. We might fool others. We cannot fool ourselves!



When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Today let each of us here pray:

O LORD, GIVE ME YOUR PRICELESS GIFT OF WISDOM.
THE GIFT YOU GAVE TO GASPER, BALTHASAR AND MELCHOIR.
THE GIFT YOU GAVE TO SOLOMON.

- THE GIFT I TOO CAN HAVE - IF - AND ONLY IF - I TRULY WANT IT!

+Pat Buckley
4.1.2015

1 comment:

  1. I have always seen the Wise Men as representing the universality of Christ's message-valid for all who choose to listen. In a few weeks I am meant to be preaching on the call of Samuel. I note how he needed silence to hear the word of God. I also note (looked it up) how the Prophet Muhammad retreated to silence to hear the word of God. We folk seem to talk allot. Happy New Year Sean

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