“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come.” These are the words of the prophet Isaiah in the First Reading this weekend and this is what the Jewish people believed about the coming of the Messiah. God would send a Savior who would free the people from their oppression whether physical, spiritual or mental. But it would be for the CHOSEN PEOPLE. As we hear Matthew’s Gospel today the Jews would have been shocked that visitors from the East came to visit the Messiah at His birth — that they were also watching and waiting for a Messiah to come to earth to save us. Matthew, writing to a Jewish community, wanted them to hear loud and clear that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the long-awaited one, but that He came not only for the Jewish people, the Chosen People, but that’s God’s generosity extended now to the whole human race! That would have been controversial and revolutionary to them. No wonder some opposed Jesus.
If we take the Gospel seriously we will be disturbed and uncomfortable as well. Salvation open to all people……..means ALL people! Additionally, phrases like “forgive your enemies” includes ALL enemies. It’s nice to say these words and to be on the receiving end when we’ve done something wrong against another, but these words are so difficult to put into practice when we deeply disagree with someone or see them, not only as a threat, but as an enemy in truth. We are challenged this weekend, as were the wise men, to see the Gospel with new eyes and to be open to the possibilities that God proposes.
Fr. Jerry Francik