Dominic | Mar 20, 2015 | 13
Sunday’s Reading: The Homage of the Magi (Mt 2) – 5 Quotes from the Fathers
Posted by Dominic | Jan 2, 2015 |
Complement your discussions and meditations on today’s Sunday Reading with 5 quotes from the fathers of the Church. Today, at Mass, St. Matthew records the visit of the Eastern Magi to the Christ Child and Herod’s fear at the prophecy.
Weighing in today we have St. Augustine, Bl. Rabanus, St. Leo the Great, St. Gregory the Great and St John Chrystostom. Legwork complementary of St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Jesus was born at Bethlehem, in Juda, in the days of king Herod. And thereupon certain wise men came out of the east to Jerusalem, who asked, Where is he that has been born, the king of the Jews? We have seen his star out in the east, and we have come to worship him.King Herod was troubled when he heard it, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 so that he assembled all the chief priests and learned men among the people, and enquired of them where it was that Christ would be born. 5 And they told him, At Bethlehem in Juda; so it has been written by the prophet: “And thou, Bethlehem, of the land of Juda, art far from the least among the princes of Juda, for out of thee will arise a leader who is to be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
Then, summoning the wise men in secret, Herod questioned them closely upon the time of the star’s appearing. And he sent them on their way to Bethlehem, saying to them, “Go and enquire carefully for the child, and when you have found him, bring me back word, so that I too may come and worship him.”
They obeyed the king, and went on their journey; and all at once the star which they had seen in the east was there going before them, till at last it stood still over the place where the child was. They, when they saw the star, were glad beyond measure; and so, going into the dwelling, they found the child there, with his mother Mary, and fell down to worship him; and, opening their store of treasures, they offered him gifts, of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Afterwards, because they had received a warning in a dream forbidding them to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by a different way.
St. Matthew the Evangelist
- After the miraculous Virgin-birth, a God-man having by Divine power proceeded from a virgin womb; in the obscure shelter of such a cradle, a narrow stall, wherein lay infinite Majesty in a body more narrow, a God was suckled and suffered the wrapping of vile rags – amidst all this, on a sudden a new star shone in the sky upon the earth, and driving away the darkness of the world, changed night into day; that the day-star should not be hidden by the night. Hence it is the Evangelist says, Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
- The Magi are men who inquire into the nature of things philosophically, but common speech uses Magi for wizards. In their own country, however, they are held in other repute, being the philosophers of the Chaldaeans, in whose lore kings and princes of that nation are taught, and by which themselves knew the birth of the Lord.
- Christ Himself, the expectation of the nations, that innumerable posterity once promised to the most blessed patriarch Abraham, but to be born not after the flesh, but by the Spirit; therefore likened to the stars for multitude, that from the father of all nations, not an earthly but an heavenly progeny might be looked for. Thus the heirs of that promised posterity, marked out in the stars, are roused to the faith by the rise of a new star, and where the heavens had been at first called in to witness, the aid of Heaven is continued
St. Leo the Great
- To the Jews who used their reason, a rational creature, i.e. an Angel, ought to preach. But the Gentiles who knew not to use their reason are brought to the knowledge of the Lord, not by words, but by signs; to the one prophecy, as to the faithful; to the other signs, as to the unbelievers. One and the same Christ is preached, when of perfect age, by Apostles; when an infant, and not yet able to speak, is announced by a star to the Gentiles; for so the order of reason required; speaking preachers proclaimed a speaking Lord, mute signs proclaimed a mute infant.
St. Gregory the Great
- This was manifestly not one of the common stars of Heaven. First, because none of the stars moves in this way, from east to south, and such is the situation of Palestine with respect to Persia. Secondly, from the time of its appearance, not in the night only, but during the day. Thirdly, from its being visible and then again invisible; when they entered Jerusalem it hid itself and then appeared again when they left Herod. Further, it had no stated motion, but when the Magi were to go on, it went before them; when to stop, it stopped like the pillar of cloud in the desert. Fourthly, it signified the Virgin’s delivery, not by being fixed aloft, but by descending to earth, showing herein like an invisible virtue formed into the visible appearance of a star.
St. John Chrysostom