Today, on this Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, I want to examine it not through the Magi or through the gifts they bore, which I’ve done before, but rather through the person of King Herod. For after hearing this Gospel story, I am faced with a question: Why was King Herod surprised? It seems to me that the presence of the Star of Bethlehem would have been obvious and that he would have tried to figure out what it meant. Yet he was astonished at the arrival of Magi from the East.
The question of the Magi was: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” The Gospel relates that he was greatly troubled. Of course, he should be! For his title was “King of the Jews,” and non-Jews, Zoroastrians, came from the East, seeking out a newborn king when, in his mind, the King of the Jews was standing right before them! “We have seen his star at its rising,” they said, “and have come to do him homage.” His star? What star? There’s a star out there? There’s another King of the Jews out there to challenge me?! After listening to the prophecy from Isaiah, he asks the Magi when the star appeared.Read More