Happy and blessed new year!  Let’s hope that 2021 brings with it an end to the global pandemic, peace to war torn nations and a continued renewal of faith in the Diocese of Burlington and in our own lives.  I don’t know the last time I was so happy to flip the calendar from the old year to the new.

While we celebrated the first Sunday in the new year, we must not forget that it is still the Christmas season and Epiphany Sunday, so we continue our celebration of the gift of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, Our Savior.

While we traditionally reflect and meditate upon the appearance of the Magi and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (never a bad thing to do), I’d like to consider some others who are part of the Magi story but we never seem to consider, I mean the servants and assistants of the Magi.  In most artwork representing the Magi’s visit to the Christ Child, we are provided images of a caravan arriving at Bethlehem, consisting of the Magi, their servants and a whole retinue of camels, pack animals and the like.  While the scriptures do not mention the servants, I imagine these “three kings” did not travel alone.  With that in mind I like to imagine that the servants probably thought their masters were a little bit off following a strange star.  In a day and age when travel was difficult and dangerous, the servants were probably not thrilled they had to leave the comfort of their own homes to begin a quest.  Their minds must have been filled with all sorts of negative thoughts and hard feelings that they were being dragged along on this quest. However, when the end of the quest is achieved, when the Magi bowed before the newborn king and offer their gifts, I also imagine the servants hearts were touched and the hard feelings and doubts melted away.

How often do we feel like we may be on a bit of a wayward quest in our lives of faith? Following the guidance of others, traveling along unknown paths in a world that is not always supportive of faith.  How often would we prefer just to stay put and be left alone and not go forth to seek the Christ in the world?  There are going to be times that, like the servants, our faith journey may seem a bit of a wild goose chase, but what Epiphany reminds us is that if we persevere we will, by the guidance of God’s grace, come to the end of the quest and adore the One who saves us,  Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, Our Savior.

So, as we begin anew year, let’s continue the journey of faith together with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, our Bishop, Christopher, and all our brothers and sisters in faith.

In Christ,

Msgr. John McDermott

Vicar General

CNS/Katie Rutter