After Jesus was revealed to Jewish shepherds on the night of his birth, Jesus is now revealed as the “light of revelation to the Gentiles” symbolized by the visit of the Magi. Jesus is the Savior of all people, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor. I have always been intrigued by the final words of today’s Gospel: After the magi learned that Herod wanted to do harm to Jesus, the Magi went home “by another way.” I suspect that Matthew the Evangelist meant this both geographically and spiritually. They went to their home countries by another route, so that Herod would not track them down and do harm to them, but they also went home changed, different, by the encounter with Jesus. If we have done Christmas well – and I don’t mean that we gave a lot of presents, decorated, baked, or went to a lot of parties -- we too have probably been changed by our prayerful journey through Advent, and our own personal encounter with the Lord. I often suggest to people that on this Sunday we should drive to our homes after Mass “by another way,” by a different route, to remind ourselves that Jesus calls us to conversion and change of heart – to do things differently because of Him. It might be simple and silly, but I have found it to be a good, experiential reminder of this call.
There is also a tradition today that we bless our homes on this feast. Just as the Holy Family welcomed these guests into their home, so we pray that our homes will be a place of welcome, hospitality, and holiness. A simple blessing has been included in today’s bulletin. We are also providing you with chalk which you can use to write 20 + C M B + 19 above your doors. The CMB stands for both the traditional names of the three magi (Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar) and the Latin for May Christ bless this home.” (Sometimes people choose to put crosses between each initial.)