• Fr. Michael J. Truongluan, C.Ss.R.

Epiphany: WHERE ARE YOU?


The three wise men asked Herod, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage” (Matthew 2:2).

Herod asked all the chief priests and the scribes of the people. They in turn consulted the scripture and it says: “In Bethlehem of Judea” (v. 5, 6).

The disciples of John followed Jesus. He asked: “What are you looking for?” They inquired: “Rabbi, where are you staying?” So He invites them: “Come and you will see.” They followed.

There are two groups of seekers: the Magi and the disciples. Both are students for they seek after wisdom and salvation.

Both ask, “Where?” “Where is the newborn king?” and “where are you staying?”

The first answer comes from a series of questioners. The first was the Magi. They asked the star. The star led them to Herod. Then they asked Herod. Herod in turn asked the priests and scribes. They turned to the Scripture. And the Scripture answers: “In Bethlehem of Judea.”

This is the order:

(1) Magi

(2) Star

(3) King

(4) Priests

(5) Scribe

(6) Scriptures.

The first question was, “Where the Lord is born?” The second, “Where the Lord is staying?” The first addressed the Lord as a “He.” The second, as a “You.” The first is indirect. The second, direct. The first asks “about” Him. The second speaks “to” Him.

To the second question, the answer did not come from the Magi—the wise, the star—the heavenly, the king—the powerful, the priests—the consecrated, the scribes—the knowledgeable or the scripture—the prophetic, but it comes from the Lord himself.

The question is “Where are you staying?” Notice it is not “Where are you living?” You could live anywhere, but you stay in one particular place—a location.

The question “where” is a question about space. To capture space we locate it in a place. Then we give it a name. A particular place can be understood only in terms of spatial prepositions—either mental or physical, such as “in, out, inside, outside, on, under, above, below, beyond, through, with, within” and the like.

The answer of the scripture to the Magi was “In Bethlehem”—or literally, “in the House of Bread.” That is to say, a place with a name.

On the other hand, the answer of the Lord to the seeking disciples was an invitation: “Come and you will see.” A place is not specified nor a name given. To know “where” the Lord is staying, space or time or place or location cannot apply to Him. The Lord invites the seekers to come with Him and then they will see for themselves. He now takes precedence over the place of the star, the wise, the king, the priests, the scribes and the scriptures for He is present.

The response to the invitation to come and see is a spatial preposition “with.” You must “come with” the Lord in order to see. It simply means to follow Him.

The answer to the question of “where,” such as “where is the newborn king?” or “where are you staying?” is defined by the Lord himself with the word “with.”

To see where God is, you must know “where” you are or “with whom” you are now. It is no longer a question of location, but that of a person: with whom are you?

Jesus is always with His Father. With whom are you? That’s where you are.

#Epiphany #Magi #Star #Scripture

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