Almost 70 years ago – my father was a young student at the University of Louisville studying mechanical engineering.
Mostly on the weekends, but also throughout the week – he hung out with some of my mother’s cousins who lived around the corner from his family in Shively, Kentucky.
He was not too thrilled with the idea when his friends said their cousin from the country was coming to stay with them for the summer --- and asked if my dad would take her out on a date.
As reluctant as my father was at first, one blind date turned into a second date, then another--- and the rest, as they say, is history. . .
Up until the last decade or so – that’s how husbands met their wives – and wives their husbands. It mostly happened by accident.
--Sometimes it came about because someone happened to sit next to them in one of their classes or lived in the same dorm.
--Sometimes it came about because a new family moved in next door.
--Sometimes it came about because they worked for the same company or in the same building.
--Sometimes it was the result of meeting a friend of a friend of a friend.
--And sometimes it came about in the most clichéd way of all: two bored people striking up a conversation in a bar or at a party.
Yes, until recently, people met other people in all sorts of ways, usually “just because” not because of something the person or persons were actually doing to bring it about.
It’s all different these days – with the use of the internet and online searches for intended mates --- which is a method with some intentionality – the method in which people take the most active role in the search, the method in which people don’t wait for something “accidental” to happen – but rather set out on a mission to find what they are looking for. And it seems to work – as most engaged couples I work with these days tell me that’s how they met. . .
There was certainly a type of intentionality involved in the Magi’s search for the newborn king of Israel – this was no chance excursion they were taking – no wild goose chase they got involved in ----
NO – they were intentionally searching the stars of the heavens – perhaps for years – watching and waiting and looking for a sign that would signal something special, something out of the ordinary.
And when that special light made its appearance -- they set out on their quest to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews –
not really knowing where they would end up – just following the light wherever it led them.
We can presume this was NOT an easy journey – traveling in ancient times was never easy or safe. And of course, ultimately they got to gaze on and
do homage to the very Light of the World.
“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.”
So says the prophet Isaiah in our first reading today. In hindsight – it’s easy to see a foreshadowing in his words – a prophecy that would be realized centuries later.
Isaiah seemed to understand that a kind of darkness had crept into the world – into the hearts and minds and spirits of the Jewish people. And what would make things right, what would make things better, what would heal those broken hearts -- -was NOT a conqueror --- not a strong army ---- but rather LIGHT – a light that would dispel the darkness, a light which was God himself shining down upon them and with and through them.
Christ our Light! Thanks be to God. . .
Does the intentional search of the Magi for the invisible God made visible – the light from light – true God from true God ------ describe us in any way???
I know we SAY we look for God in our lives – but are we sincerely and intentionally looking for the Light??
Do we really want to follow the path illuminated by the light of Christ – so that once we encounter it – we return by another way --------------- or do we just want to continue to forge our own path??
Do we truly want the light of Christ to shine on our faults and failings and shortcomings and sins?
Do we want the Light to dispel the darkness of our egos and selfishness and greed and self-righteousness – or do we secretly want to keep all of those things just as they are???
You see our spiritual lives require the same kind of intentionality as we have in the dating scene these days. It requires a certain kind of focus and persistence and humility. It requires openness to grace and a willingness to be led.
We have to have some sort of idea who we are looking for, some sort of conviction that God’s way is always the best way, some sort of acceptance and acknowledgement that we need to change –
need to forgive more --- and to love more --- the need to be more accepting and a little less judgmental. . .
Without these things, we will likely remain in the darkness and remain in a kind of spiritual loneliness in which we ultimately spend our lives waiting for God to come to us ------ all the while God is inviting us to come to him. . .
Put another way – it’s sort of as if we are continually sitting at home on the couch every night, wondering why we can’t ever meet someone --- while failing to make any effort to help bring it about. . .
May we look to the Magi for wisdom, courage, and trust --- to seek God in at all times, in all places, and in all people --- believing that it is a search in which we discover ---- the God we seek has been with us all along. O Come let us adore Him. O Come let us adore him. O Come. . . Christ – the Lord.
Moments in time...