THEY'D HAVE BEEN HORRIFIED . . .
For various reasons I seem to have heard, or read, rather a lot of Epiphany homilies today; but there was one comment in one of them which particularly struck me : Father said 'The wise men would have been horrified to see how much we take things for granted', which immediately got me thinking. (He also pointed out that probably none of us had got to Mass by camel, which sent a vision of the Oratory forecourt full of camels across my mind - an image which I have to admit I enjoyed !)
I have to say that I think he was right about us taking our Faith for granted, though.
The Magi left their homes in order to travel a long distance - and in those days that would have involved taking huge risks, quite apart from the long absence and the fearful expense - in order to verify the truth of a prophecy which was (as far as we know) nothing directly to do with their own religion.
Similarly, in many mission countries even today, one hears of peple who will walk for two or three days to get to Mass; or who risk persecution, possibly even violence or death, for the Faith . . . or what about Anglican clergy who convert, and thereby lose not only their jobs, but also their homes, because of their commitment to the truth.
For all these people, the Epiphany is real : the truth of the Messiah's arrival is inescapable, and they cannot ignore it, whatever the cost.
Are we like that ? Do we even put ourselves out to get to Mass early enough to make some sort of Preparation beforehand . . . do we stay behind even long enough to make a short Thanksgiving afterwards ?
We don't, on the whole, have to make a long journey to get to Mass; we don't even have to get to Mass all that often, really (especially with three Holy Days of Obligation having been transferred to Sundays !); and we're not at any risk of losing anything more than a bit of a lie-in as the price of going to Mass.
Perhaps, then, we should be thinking about the Magi, and what they put themselves through to get to Bethlehem, and taking the opportunity of this Epiphany to ask ourselves just how far we are prepared to go to find the Babe that has been born for us . . .
(Yes : I know I translated Father's 'wise men' into Magi - after reading a very good post from fr Gregory Murphy OP on Godzdogz about that very point.)