Stars come in all shapes and sizes. How many of us have a memory of sitting around a campfire and looking up to see millions of stars that we would never see in the city? I am transfixed often at the beauty of our cosmos, looking heavenward to witness this breathtaking sight. In Kenya was the first time I saw the Southern Cross. I saw it again in South Africa. In Mexico one year, for several nights in a row I would find a beach chair and settle in to listen to the ocean waves crash the shore and watch the stars glisten. Summers spent in the backwoods with good friends where we would relish the stillness of the universe are some of the memories of the magnificence of stars.
Sometimes we can follow the Light in complete and utter darkness, not knowing how it will change us. That is what Epiphany is ultimately about–seeking Christ and deciding to, as the Spiritual Exercises say, stand under his standard. Herod was an earthly leader who the Magi chose to reject for the glory they found in the stable. The humble Babe had been worth the journey. The Magi would never be the same again and selected a new way home in disobedience to the earthly King. This New-Born King would be their new leader and instigated them to perform an act of rebellion to the one who held the reigns of power. The joy of the encounter that they felt with where the star had led them was perhaps something that they had never experienced. One might even say they were star-struck at the sight of this Divine Child.
The First Reading from Isaiah 60 reminds us that our Light has come and it is our turn to rise. Despite the darkness that may cover the earth, we have a Lord who will rise and shine Divine Glory upon us. Then as Scripture says, we shall see and be radiant and our hearts will rejoice. Our task after following the star and encountering the Divine is not to return to our old alleges and ways. We must find new paths and rearrange our values.
When have you sought the Holy and been transformed?
Have you ever had to walk away from an earthly leader to follow Christ the King? At what cost?
New-Born King, help me to stand under your standard, knowing that I will never be the same again. May I keep my eyes on the star that leads me to you. May my heart be overwhelmed with joy that spills out in radiance to all who meet me. Amen.