Summary: The past perfect used in this way is known as “tenses of vision” or the “prophetic perfect.” Isaiah is assuring us that the message being proclaimed will surely come to pass.

A customer called the customer service line to complain about a power outage after a big storm, then stopped raging long enough to ask, “How will I know when my lights are back on?”

The customer service agent remained silent for a second, debating about the best way to answer such an obvious, even ridiculous question. How will you know when your lights are back on? Finally, she just said, “Um, it’ll be brighter than it is now.” The customer hung up on her.

Our First Reading said, that darkness covers the earth but then “Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you…"

The First Reading dates from 520 BC, during the return of Israel from the Babylonian exile. They are somewhat disillusioned because the jubilant expectations of Israel have not come to pass. So, the Prophet Isaiah begins by using the grammatical past perfect tense to say that “your light HAS come.”

The past perfect used in this way is known as “tenses of vision” or the “prophetic perfect.” Isaiah is assuring us that the message being proclaimed will surely come to pass. Am I living my life in such a way that all the things my faith teaches me will surely come to pass?

Travel writer Hugh Morris has an interesting story about the Luxor Sky Beam, the strongest in the world, on top of the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It’s a geographic waypoint for pilots, a backup for GPS and flight instruments when pilots must look out of their windows.

Do we recognize the light of Christ symbolized in Christmas lights?

The Magi recognized the Messiah King by the light of a star while Herod missed it completely. A babe in a manger. God stripped away all his power and pyrotechnics and made His message as simple and low-tech as possible so we couldn’t miss the meaning: Jesus is God made.

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. It distressed Herod so much he convened a special meeting of his religious advisors to find out who this child was.

It forced Herod to turn to Scripture, where he found that the greatness of Bethlehem will far outweigh its small size because of the great king who will arise there.

The Magi were overjoyed at seeing the star.

Joy is a sure sign of salvation (see Matthew 13:44, Matthew 28:8) –joy envelopes them as they see once again the star going before them.

Notice the star lead them to the Bible. The rabbinic literature and Christian faith know more than astrology does because Herod’s advisers said “it is so written” which means “the inspired text says” or “for thus it has been written through the prophet.” So, the Old Testament takes a negative view of astrology and today looking at a horoscope would be a sin against the First Commandment, which tells us to love God and trust in Divine Providence instead of trying to get power from astrology.

The Magi saw the child with Mary his mother. No mention of Joseph because Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, although he was protector of Jesus and Mary, and hugely important. The Christmas scriptures are demonstrating that wherever Mary is, there is the real Jesus.

The Magi worship Jesus, “They prostrated themselves and did him homage. The Church teaches there are three forms of praise – latria, hyperdulia, and dulia. Latria refers to adoration and worship and is reserved for God alone. Latria means adoration, a reverence directed only to the Holy Trinity. Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies.

Repeat after me: Catholics do not worship Mary.

Catholics do not worship Mary.

Catholics do not worship Mary.

Dulia is the honor and recognition which we accord to the saints. Hyperdulia is dulia to the superlative degree. This is reserved for Mary.

Where is the newborn King of the Jews? How can I help others to encounter Christ? In the Eucharist—Bethlehem means House of Bread-- a bit of consecrated bread...This will be sign for you….

The Magi opened their treasures...what do I treasure? How do I share my gifts with those in need?

Speaking of treasures, Verbum Domini 87 mentioned a number of methods for a faith-filled and fruitful approach to sacred Scripture. Yet the greatest attention was paid to lectio divina, which is truly “capable of opening up to the faithful the treasures of God’s word, but also of bringing about an encounter with Christ, the living word of God.”

Reading the Bible on your own is really important if you want real daily treasure.

As the preface for Epiphany says-- you made us new by the glory of his immortal nature. And the liturgy hours in this season frequently says, “You will see his glory within you… shone anew upon the eyes of our mind!,” which echoes John 11:40 when Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

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