Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Star is Born

Have you ever dreamt of being a movie star? Have you ever wished you could be a famous singer, or at least a famous karaoke singer? Even if you didn’t have these ambitions, there must be some time in your life when you wanted to be the center of attention. You wanted to be a star. For example, young children often cry or act naughty to get the attention of their parents. Adults are no different. We sulk and we throw tantrums in order to get attention. We feel jealous whenever other’s get the attention.

Today’s gospel is also about stars – many different stars but only one true Star. We have the bright star shining in the sky indicating to the wise men of the East the place where the Messiah was to be born. Was this the Star, the one true Star? No. This star only showed the way. Then we have the wise men. On the feast of the Epiphany, we usually place the statues of the three kings in the crib to indicate the visit of the wise men, who were not actually kings. Many people often think that these kings or wise men are the stars of today’s celebration. But they’re not the stars of the day. They were searching and making their way to the true star. Then there is King Herod. King Herod had great ambitions. He wanted to be the greatest king of his dynasty. He wanted to rival King David and Solomon. It is true that he controlled the largest territory in his dynastic line. But, he was still an insignificant vassal ruler in the massive Roman empire. King Herod wanted to be a star. He wanted to be THE Star but fell far short of it. When you are insecure and frightened of losing your position and power, you will make sure that there are no other rivals. This is the reason why Herod wanted to know the location of the Messiah so that he could get rid of his rival. Herod felt that there can only be one star and it had to be Herod himself.

King Herod was partly right. There has to be only one Star. One star which lights the way. One star that brightens the darkness. One star that points the way to salvation. One star where we can place all our hopes and aspirations. Jesus is that Star. Today’s feast is precisely about Jesus. It is not Herod, nor the wise men, nor even the star which should the way to find Jesus. Today’s feast about Jesus, the star which brightens the darkness of our lives and shows the way to salvation for all mankind. If Jesus is the Star of our lives, we cannot have other stars. Power, money, riches, feng shui, idols, charms – these can no longer be ‘stars’ in our lives. There is only one Star and he must be Jesus.

Three things are revealed about Jesus in today’s gospel. The three gifts are symbolic of this revelation. The gift of gold symbolizes the kingship of Christ. Jesus Christ is a king, but not like any other kings. His kingdom is not of this world. It is the kingdom of justice, peace and love. It is the kingdom which is established in the hearts of every man or woman who open themselves to God and allow God to be the Lord of their lives. It is the kingdom of humble service rather than of power. The second gift is the gift of frankincense. Incense is used in worship This gift symbolizes the divinity of Christ. Christ is no mere human person. He is God. He is God made man. He is God with us. Finally, we have the gift of myrrh which is used for burial. This last gift points to the passion of Christ. Christ must suffer and die in order for the world to be saved. This is his destiny. We as his followers must also be prepared to follow his way of living and even follow him on the way to the cross.

Today, we too pay homage to the greatest Star that was ever born. He is not any famous singer or actor. He isn’t a great king or a philosopher. He is so much more than all these things. He is Jesus. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. He is our King.

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