WHAT SHALL I RENDER THE LORD?

THEME: WHAT SHALL I RENDER THE LORD?
READINGS: Isaiah 60:1-6/ Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6/ Matthew 2:1-12
Solemnity of Epiphany of Our Lord

INTRODUCTION

At the beginning of a New Year and inspired by the wise men (magi) who undertook a long journey to render homage to the Child Jesus and offer Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, we should ask ourselves the question: “What shall I render the Lord for His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12).  In other words, what shall we render to God for His gracious gift of life and more importantly, for His overwhelming gift of salvation in Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary?

THE LIGHT OF OUR FAITH

The wise men were non-Jews, and so they knew nothing about the promised Saviour. However, by the light of a star, they understood that a Child had been born who would become the King of the Jews (cf. Matt. 2:2). Whereas they were guided by a physical star, we are guided by the radiant light of supernatural faith to know that Jesus Christ was not just the King of the small nation of the Jews, but is indeed the King of heaven and the whole universe. He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. Moreover, knowing that He through whom everything was created and without whom nothing was created (cf. John 1:2-3) decided to become a Child (creature) so as to save us, should make us ever grateful to our Lord.

A JOURNEY OF GRATITUDE

Though the wise men knew nothing about the promised Saviour, they found it necessary to undertake a long journey to do the Child homage and offer Him precious giftsMore so, then, let us express our gratitude to our Saviour Jesus Christ by journeying with Him in faith. Like the wise men, let us not give up when we experience difficulties on the long and twisted journey of faith, as we seek to know the Lord ever more this year and beyond.  On the practical level, may we never find the journey (walk, ride or drive) to our church (especially on Sundays) too long or boring to make.

FINDING CHRIST THROUGH SCRIPTURES

When the wise men enquired about the exact place of birth of the newborn King, the chief priests and scribes provided the answer by referring to the Scriptures (cf. Matt. 2:5-6).  Similarly, let us find Christ by assiduously searching the Scriptures through reading and meditation, for as St. Jerome had said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. Such reading and meditation constitute a way of appreciating our Lord, as we would endeavour to know more about someone we love.

HOMAGE AS GRATITUDE

Though the wise men did not know that the Child Jesus was divine, they rendered Him homage. That is, they prostrated before Him in worship (cf. Matt. 2:11). We, then, who know that Jesus is divine and more so enjoy His blessings must wholehearted and gratefully worship Him.

GIFTS OF GRATITUDE

The wise men offered Jesus the precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (cf. Matt. 2:11).  Let us likewise offer our precious gifts to the Lord in appreciation of His blessings.  Firstly, we may not have gold, but we can offer some of our precious wealth, talents and/or time for the service of the Lord and His Church.

Secondly, we may not have frankincense, but we can offer the Lord what it signifies, namely, prayer and worship.  Let us, therefore, always worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Thirdly, there is the gift of myrrh, which was used as perfume and medicine. It was also used for embalming bodies because of its sweet smell. The risen Lord Jesus, however, has no need for physical myrrh as Mary Magdalene and her companions who were anxious about embalming His body soon learnt (cf. Mark 16:1-6); for His divine holiness diffuses eternal sweet aroma.  Let us, therefore, be anxious to offer Him not myrrh but the sweet-smelling life of holiness.

CONCLUSION

“What shall I render the Lord for His goodness to me?” Reflecting on this question in the light of the story of the wise men, we have learnt that we should express ceaseless gratitude to our Lord by:

  • Persevering in our journey of faith with Him
  • Assiduously searching for Him through the Scriptures
  • Rendering Him the homage of worship
  • Offering Him our gifts, especially spiritual ones

May the Lord to whom we thus render our appreciation bless us eternally! Amen!

By Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis

Fr. John Louis

Very Rev. Fr. John Kobina Louis is a priest of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the liturgical year by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Kobina Louis of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.