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Travel through darkness to find the light

To be “in the dark” is usually not a good thing. It could mean you’re clueless or you don’t have enough information to make a good choice, or offer an opinion.

Nor is it an easy place to be. Being in the dark entails being vulnerable, not having complete control. It could be an anxious or even a frightening place. One must be trusting and hope the information is reliable. It also takes courage to step out into what is not familiar or completely known. This is the door to faith.

This weekend, on Epiphany, we hear from St. Matthew’s Gospel the story of the three Magi (Wise Men) who traveled from the East following a star. They want to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews. We assume much of their travel was in the dark.

The shepherds apparently had it much easier. In Luke’s Gospel, as heard on Christmas Eve, we’re told that they received a bright light, a talkative angel, the identity of the child, and even where to find him.

The Wise Men had to travel a different path, a path where they were literally in the dark. They traveled by night following a star. They had to stop and inquire as to whom, and as to where they could find the “newborn King.”

They didn’t realize it, but they took a risk in confiding in King Herod. King Herod disguised his murderous intent with a lie, a lie of his desire to set out and worship the king.

We might find ourselves, at different times, following one or the other of these spiritual paths. Sometimes we walk confidently in the light, assured of who and where Jesus is.  At other times, we may walk in the dark, unsettled, and less self-assured.

What we learn from this weekend’s Gospel is that the seekers are the finders. Those willing to set out on the journey of faith – courageously and trustingly – regardless of the risk or the apprehension, are rewarded. Like the Magi, they will find that the door is open.

And what is the prize? They encounter the Holy Family and see the face of God.

Father William L’Heureux is pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Silver Creek, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Genoa and Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Krakow.

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