- Isaiah 60:1-6
- Ephesians 3:2-6
- Matthew 2:1-12
Those rays of thine shall light the Gentiles on their path; kings shall walk in the splendour of thy sunrise. Lift up thy eyes and look about thee; who are these that come flocking to thee? Sons of thine, daughters of thine, come from far away, or rising up close at hand. Heart of thee shall overflow with wonder and gratitude, to see all the riches of ocean, all the treasure of the Gentiles pouring into thee!
Isaiah 60:3-5 (Knox)
Judaism makes an august claim: that one day, a renegade criminal, hiding from the most powerful man in the world (at that time) beheld a miracle, a bush that was burning and yet was not consumed. In that miracle, to that one runaway, the God of All the Universes and Times there have ever been or ever will be revealed himself as the One by Whose Being all things are. And even as they were being persecuted, led into slavery again and again, fought, destroyed, nearly killed, they held on to that revelation knowing that “The gods of the gentiles are but idols.” On that claim the Church comments that the One by Whose Being all things are, He whom the heavens cannot contain was, in the fulness of time, entered into time as a babe contained in the womb of an unmarried teenager, and there brought hope to all the poor, smelly people in a forgotten corner of the world.
When he grew up, that poor, smelling backroads child, now a man and a preacher, announced, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by me.”
And the whole world has listened.
And come, by way of that Child, to the same revelation of the Bush that burns and is not consumed. The One by Whose Being all things are, in Whose Presence all things bow, by Whose Flame all things burn and the real things last – and others go up in smoke – this Very One, is this Babe in the arms of his mother, now, before whom the Magi kneel.
And the full meaning of Moses’ Bush is revealed in the Virgin into whose womb the Divine Fire descended and yet she was not consumed. And we, into whose mouths the Flesh of God is taken and we do not die.
And all the world is fed on Israel’s God, made known in his loving fullness: the Babe in Bethlehem.
This feast, though, says something even more shocking than all the above. This feast says that since Jesus is “the Truth” then All Truth is Jesus. And so the Magi, following the Truth as they know it, come to Jesus. All that is Truth in anything – in any religion, in any political system, in any love, in any art – is Jesus.
As God was preparing, by direct action, the Nation of Israel to birth his promised Messiah, so God was preparing every other nation by direct action to receive Messiah. Israel’s function is to the world. The hatred born by so many towards Israel is a hatred of the God Israel reveals – and the whole world is to receive. To reject Israel’s action is to reject the whole work of God in the world.
All come to the Father by him – even those who are not Christians: because they follow the Truth given to them and so, they are following Jesus. This is not a case of universalism in the warm and fluffy sense (read, Popi, have you seen Dash?) cuz it’s scary to fall into the fire that burns up everything worthless. Will there be anything left of me?
This feast is the promised union of all mankind and God into one great hymn of Divine Fire.