January 3, 2016 — Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
The story of the Magi — the wise men — as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew makes several facts very clear. We often focus on the gifts that were brought as examples of stewardship, and, in truth, this story was certainly one of the inspirations for the giving that occurs at Christmas.
However, as is often the case, there is a deeper and more meaningful message found here. When they found the child Jesus, they opened their treasures and they gave “Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” They did not present the gifts to His parents; they presented them directly to Him. The baby Jesus had no real need for these gifts, and we assume that Mary and Joseph used them in Christ’s behalf, to support Him.
That is what we do when we give to the Church. Although our gifts need to be viewed by us as gifts to God, we also must have a trust, which includes the understanding that those who will use the gifts will use them wisely and justly. The Magi trusted that their gifts would be used in a way that was beneficial. We need to have that same kind of trust. Most of all, we need to understand the importance of giving, of being good stewards.