How many times have we actually looked up the night sky to see millions of stars shining brightly in the distance? Such a marvel that even though the stars are so far away, we are still able to see them from where we are. Such is the beauty of nature and the universe! The stars have a special significance in the wake of Jesus’ birth.
In the gospel reading, King Herod was greatly troubled by the birth of Jesus Christ and summoned the three wise men to help him locate Jesus so he could get rid of him, and that was really his ulterior motive.
“They said to him,”In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel”(Matthew 2:1-12).
King Herod sent the wise men out and they followed the star which had risen overhead and they followed its direction till it came to rest over the place where Jesus was born.
Scientifically speaking, for a star to shine that brightly, it is actually burning itself out or dying which then gives out the brilliant light. Thus, the death of a star is actually similar to that of Jesus’ birth till his passion when he dies for our sins in order to save us. It is similar to that of a candle where by burning the wax out, it provides light for us.
Jesus wants us to be a light to others in giving light and also to die to ourselves. There are many simple ways to be a light to others but what is more important is that we need others to become the light as a single light alone is not sufficient to dispel the darkness present in the world. There are more than one billion Catholics around the world which means that there should be as many as one billion bright stars. Can you imagine how dazzling and illuminating these must be and so there should be no room for darkness.
Dying to ourselves is a challenge. It takes humility to be willing to forgive and to seek the sacrament of reconciliation. It is a daily challenge to die to ourselves as we are surrounded by influences that make us selfish and less forgiving. Even the apostles were tried and tested in learning to die to themselves daily and follow in the light of Jesus Christ. Humble living is also part of Christian living in self-service to others and putting self before others in showing people the path where the spirit will take us.
“Dear Lord, my allegiance to You will be tested today. Right now, I am stating my faithfulness to you. You are the One I love forever. At the same time, I will clearly state that I want nothing to do with serving my self. I have had enough to do with that selfish ego of mine that tries to get all the attention it can. Your principles of love and giving are what I want. Radiate in my life through acts and words of kindness. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me. I make myself totally empty of self so that You can fill me with your precious Holy Spirit. Lead me forth. I will follow in your humble paths of love.”
Are we like the three wise men, who are willing to follow the Star in our spiritual lives which is Jesus, the true light? Some nights, when there are no moon light or star light, the streets look darker than usual even with the street lights. Our lives should burn bright and not be shrouded in darkness as Jesus is here! He beckons to us in letting him journey with us. Let us take time and admire the stars at night. Perhaps there will be a stirring in our hearts which will lead to an epiphany of what Jesus is trying to tell us this New Year.
May we always be reminded of the gospel passage when we look up in the night sky tonight and see the stars that we all have the light in us. We just need to initiate the first step by choosing to be a light unto others. Also,we let Jesus be the guiding star to lead us to him. God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong