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Mt 2: 1-12



Two groups of people were on record as having seen the newborn King, the Messiah awaited by Israel. The two groups could not be more unequal and different at first sight.


The first group was the troupe of the shepherds. In the Holy Land today, there is a place called the Shepherds’ Field, where it is thought the shepherds were guarding their flock when the angel appeared. The shepherds were simple people, oftentimes associated with base actions ranging from mischief to thievery. But when they saw the Baby Jesus, they believed they saw the face of God and their lives changed.


The second group was that of the Wise Men from the East. These were learned men, educated and inquisitive, full of wisdom. They were also respectable, and oftentimes depicted and referred to as the Three Kings. Like the shepherds who abandoned their flocks, they left their faraway homes and ventured into unknown territory. No angel to guide them, they studied a mysterious star that led them to the Infant Jesus. The wise men too, believed they beheld the face of God.


The shepherds were important in the gospel not only because they signify God’s love for the poor and the ignored. It was probable that the shepherds told and retold the story of that mysterious night to their family and friends. The shepherds became preachers to the poor and simple, their neighbors and friends, that God had come among his people and his promises are true.


The Wise Men were also important, and not only because they show how God’s love reaches out to all people, to the rest of the world. God reveals himself in a way that breaks the boundaries of color, culture, or creed. God calls all people to himself through Jesus Christ his Son. The Wise Men surely also testified to what they experienced. They preached to the rich and intellectuals, their peers in high society, that the God of Israel is the true God who generously shared his Son for the salvation of all.


Both shepherds and Wise Men preached about Jesus, in their own way, ways both relevant today. The simple testify to their faith by their lives of real encounter with God. The learned testify to their faith by their study and research, and reflection. We need both. We are grateful for this combination of simplicity and sophistication in the legacy of Christianity.

#ourparishpriest 2023