Daily Reflection
January 7th, 2007

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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The Epiphany of the Lord - U.S.
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6

Matthew 2:1-12

The Light from Above

They were astrologers, but don’t hold that against them. In that time, they were the wise, the seekers of knowledge who labored in the field of stars. Years of watching had made them quiet but curious. They were also wealthy, because people pay for good advice.

A new star appeared. Today we might call this a scientific discovery or just another fact. For the stargazers, this event had a meaning that sent them on their journey. They expected to find something wonderful, and they weren’t distracted by Herod’s court or conniving. In the presence of a poor family on the road, they recognized why they had come and sank to the ground in gratitude.

Maybe we have grown too skeptical. Someone looking for signs today is pitied. Savvy minds long ago decided that the universe has no purpose or direction. Children learn not to ask--what does it mean?--since nothing intelligible is said on that topic. We accumulate knowledge with fervor, but when it comes to meaning, just figure it out yourself.

Skeptics rehearse the errors that dog human existence; they carp about how sensing, language, or even time gets in the way of truth. Augustine calls them pretenders. They pretend that humans aren’t worthy of truth. But they really fear truth and what it might demand.

Truth brings meaning; it calls us out. A starry sky fills us with awe. A hungry person lays claim to the wealth of his community. Truth doesn’t belong to any one city or religion. Like light pouring from above, it draws peoples together and makes us one.

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