Today I presided at the Solemn Mass of The Epiphany at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. After the Gospel, with suitable prayers, the Magi, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, were placed in the Crib.
In my sermon I pointed out that in our modern society we don’t expect to see portents in the sky predicting future events. In the days of Jesus the reverse was the case, and the Magi who travelled to Jerusalem were scientists of their day. Herod, a despotic king, try’s to get them to reveal to him where the new born King is when they have found him in Bethlehem. Warned in a dream, they return home using a different route. Herod was nothing less than totally ruthless when he thought his reign was in danger; he had already murdered his wife and some sons. I drew the analogy of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, who had just arranged for his uncle to be executed. The gifts of the Magi demonstrate the nature of Jesus: King, God and Saviour.