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Daily Prayer - 2013-01-06

Presence

"Come to me all you who are burdened
and I will give you rest"
Here I am, Lord.
I come to seek your presence.
I long for your healing power.

Freedom

Lord, grant me the grace to be free from the excesses of this life.
Let me not get caught up with the desire for wealth.
Keep my heart and mind free to love and serve you.

Consciousness

I exist in a web of relationships - links to nature, people, God.
I trace out these links, giving thanks for the life that flows through them.
Some links are twisted or broken: I may feel regret, anger, disappointment.
I pray for the gift of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Word of God

Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
 are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
 for from you shall come a ruler
 who is to shepherd my people Israel".
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Some thoughts on today's scripture

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  • The Epiphany story is colourful, dramatic, and full of mystery. The dramatis personae are familiar to us: the wise men (astrologers?) from the east (far away), Herod (the cruel tyrant), Mary and her child (who is he really?). Also familiar are the star that intrigued the wise men and guided them to Bethlehem, and the gifts that these strangers brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh (what do these symbolise?).
  • We are invited to become part of this story. Perhaps we can accompany the wise men and ask to share in the manifestation (epiphany) that they experienced in Bethlehem. Their journey, like our own lives, involved highs and lows, times of insight and doubt, a dream calling them forward (star) and the deception of worldly values (Herod). But at the end they were enlightened in the presence of the child Jesus and “they knelt down and paid him homage”. Will we do likewise?

Conversation

Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read.
What part of it strikes a chord in you?
Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently -
will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness.
If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?

Conclusion

I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.

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