Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 19, 2005
Adore. Be overwhelmed with joy
The Magi saw the star in the East and came to worship the new king. Worship, not gawk. They travelled many miles, not to see a celebrity, but to worship the king of kings.
If finding Jesus in humble surroundings scandalized them, the Gospel does not record that. In fact, it says, "When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy" (Matthew 2:10).
The feast of Christmas is the celebration of the kingship, the royalty of the newborn child. The only proper response is that of the Magi - adoration. The Son of God has become human. What else can we do but adore him, pay him homage, be filled with joy.
Today, we question, we doubt, we debate. We express our view of the situation. We do everything but bow. When the Magi saw that star, they set out and followed it unquestioningly.
To follow without question is the only proper response to the presence of the divine. We drop to our knees in awe.
Why is this so difficult? Is it because we have not really experienced God? Is it because the awesome mystery of God's presence has been covered over in our hearts by the barnacles of many years of routine "worship"?
Overwhelmed with joy! How does that square with the hours of Christmas shopping and the brief minutes of prayer? If we spent as much time in the adoration chapel as we do in the stores, would we too not be overwhelmed with joy?
Liturgist Adrian Nocent wrote that the goal of our Christmas celebration should be "to reunite and rebuild the world for the worship of the Lord of glory."
We build beautiful churches and eat and drink the Lord's body and blood from chalices of gold - just as we ought to do. But when St. Lawrence was asked to gather together all the treasures of the Church, he brought together the poor and disabled of his town.
To make the world a suitable vessel for the worship of the Lord of glory, should we not house the poor in decent, affordable housing and ensure their physical hunger is sated? If Jesus identified himself with the least of his brothers and sisters, why are these least so often allowed to languish in broken-down hovels with boarded-up windows? Is this not an inappropriate tabernacle?
Adoration. The Magi came without question bearing gifts to adore the Christ child. Can we adore Christ among us today by refusing to roust ourselves from our large, well-appointed homes which somehow have no room for the poor? Can we adore Christ in the poor by at least seeing them face-to-face, seeing them in their houses as the Magi saw Jesus?
The Christmas Gospel is simple: "The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory" (John 1:14). The Gospel is simple but the glory is hidden if we do not have eyes to see. Herod could not see. The glory of the Lord led him to slaughter the innocents because glory could not be tolerated.
But we who have been given the gift of faith are also asked to see with the eyes of faith, rather than those of illusion. Illusion means to stumble about in the world of appearances. It means to worship the false gods. Christ has come, but slavery to sin is still real.
Recognize your true dignity. The dignity of a person redeemed from sin. The dignity of one who, thanks to the Incarnation, shares in the divine nature. Recognize that divine nature as present in others.
Be like the Magi. Travel a great distance in your heart to bring gifts and to adore. Prepare to be overwhelmed with joy. Prepare to see Christ in the least of his brothers and sisters. Then do it. Bring gifts.
Be overwhelmed. Be in solidarity with the poor. That is Christmas.
- Glen Argan
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