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Sunday, January 4, 1998

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Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

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the star, the bible, and the bride

"Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." —Isaiah 60:1

The wise men followed a star to find Jesus. Yet they also needed the Bible, in which the prophet Micah announced that a ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Mt 2:6). However, was this ruler to be identified with the "newborn King of the Jews"? (Mt 2:2; see Jn 7:27) Moreover, was this the time for this prophecy to be fulfilled? So the wise men needed more than a star and a Bible; they needed "the chief priests and the scribes" (Mt 2:4). They needed the Church and her authoritative leadership. They needed what is called the Magisterium, the Church's authoritative teaching body, to interpret and apply the Scriptures.

The Church is the body (1 Cor 12:12ff) and the bride of Christ (see Rv 22:17). She is "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tm 3:15). Jesus has entrusted to her the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:19). She is "the fullness of Him (Jesus) Who fills the universe in all its parts" (Eph 1:23). We need the Church to follow the star, apply the Bible, and find Jesus. We need the Church for the epiphany, the manifestation of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, may I understand the Church's part in Your plan of salvation.

Promise:  "When you read what I have said, you will realize that I know what I am talking about in speaking of the mystery of Christ, unknown to men in former ages but now revealed by the Spirit to the holy apostles and prophets." —Eph 3:4-5

Praise:  Praise Jesus, "a revealing Light to the Gentiles, the Glory of Your people Israel" (Lk 2:32).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997