Lessons from New Year , Magi

WORD Alive by Fr Bel San Luis SVD for New Year/Feast of Magi / January 5, 2020

A man prays: “Dear God, all I ask for the New Year is a FAT wallet and a THIN body. And please, don’t mix them up because last year, you gave me a thin wallet and a fat body!”

As we begin a brand New Year, let’s THANK the good Lord for the graces and blessings we’ve received. Some pessimists might say, “What’s there to thank when my promising business went broke or when my marriage is going through a rough sailing?”

Be positive. It’s not the end of the world. As long as we’re alive, there’s hope. The trouble with some of us is that we look only for what we don’t have but overlook what we already have. Remember the boy who kept complaining that he had no pair of shoes? Then he met a boy who had no feet!

Let’s learn from our mistakes and endeavor not to repeat them. A young man, for instance, who got married hastily to a movie celebrity discovered after a few months that they were incompatible due to certain bad traits and a gambling habit.

His relationship did not last long. The man said, “After I left the house, I sought for an annulment of our civil marriage. I learned my lesson.” Then there is this man whose business was faltering, causing him to incur huge debts. The painful experience was a wake-up call. He examined where he made mistakes, and now he’s doing good.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Magi or Epiphany. It is called epiphany because Jesus revealed himself not only to the Jews, the Chosen People, but also to pagan visitors “from the East.” Epiphany — from the Greek term “epiphanein”– means “to manifest.”

The gospel writer teaches that Christ’s salvation is universal, that is, Jesus came to the world to save ALL peoples. Hence, the teaching of certain Christian denominations that they–and only they–will be saved contradicts the message of the Bible, particularly the Magi event.

Epiphany, like Christmas, is not a celebration of a past historical event which we love to recall every year. Rather, the event has a message that’s relevant and applicable for our times.

According to the evangelist Matthew, the wise men searched for the new-born Child. Their search required courage, perseverance and strong conviction in achieving their goal. Do you still remember the taxi driver Emilio Advincula who captured the hearts of our people some years ago because he returned a bag that contained some P2 million worth of cash and jewelry?

Despite the strong temptation to keep the big amount, he returned the bag, remembering what his mother had often told him as a boy: “No matter what, never take anything that’s not yours.” We all should emulate Emilio Advincula’s trait– from the highest government official down to the lowest.

On perseverance, in a society characterized by perennial new beginnings and ningas cogon like the anti-graft corruption, anti-littering, anti-smoke belching, government authorities need perseverance and consistency in implementing so people will learn to practice a good habit.

May the strong conviction and perseverance of the wise Magi inspire us to imitate their godly character.

THE LIGHTER SIDE. On New Year, a man made a promise to come straight home after work instead of having a good time till the wee hours of the morning. Elated, the wife said: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son…!”

But after a month, he slid back to his old habit. One time as he returned home past midnight, the wife sighed: “Glory be to the Father….AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING…”

Lesson: Make your promise and KEEP IT.

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