Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, May the Lord give you peace.
Christmas continues as we tell again the story of the Magi. Matthew’s Gospel invites us to consider the wonders of the search for wisdom and enlightenment. The Magi, gentiles, traveled from distant lands following the illumination of a star in the sky. They are considered wise and seek the one who is wisdom. Our journey is much the same; we are ever seeking enlightenment from the one who is the Light of the World. Gifted with wisdom from the Spirit, we seek the font of Wisdom, the Christ.
We pray to engage the wisdom of God in our quest for a just and lasting peace. God’s wisdom leads us to offer hospitality to the stranger. The Magi must have been amazed to find the one they sought, not in a palace or a place of royalty. They found him in a humble dwelling under the care of his loving parents. They recognized him for who he was. This was their gift and their ability to see beyond the ordinary.
Like the Magi, we are called to the light. Our experiences, our prayer, and the scripture lead us to constantly reconsider our response to world events and our day-to-day encounters. The love of God, revealed in wisdom, invites us to new ways of hospitality. We prize the dignity of all. Seeing beyond the ordinary recognizes the presence of God in unusual places and circumstances. We may become uncomfortable as the Lord opens our eyes and restores our vision. The vision is seeing through the eyes of love and peering into the eyes of love.
Their visit and embrace of the gift of God was a threat to the child, his parents, and themselves. The quest for power is not always a search for wisdom. Herod desired to secure this throne and feared the “newborn king of the Jews.” The magi depart and return to their homes avoiding Herod. Joseph leads Mary and the child into Egypt, where they live as migrants/refugees until it is safe to return to their home.
Many migrants who have come to New York came because it is no longer safe for them to stay in their home country. Many long to return to the customs, language, and people they left behind. The Herods of today continue to send the poor into exile.
This is an invitation to grow in wisdom and discern ways of hospitality that will meet the needs of our latest arrivals. I thank you for your support of our Migrant Center. We are all grateful for the work of the many volunteers who assist the families that come for help. I marvel at the warm clothes that show up at our door. Fr. Julian is coordinating the effort for us. Thank you.
Blessings as we follow the light and grow in wisdom,
Thomas M. Gallagher, ofm