Today we celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord. We recognize the visit of the three Magi who were searching for the new king of the Jews. Led by a star to a simple stable to find Jesus Christ, Our Lord. It is no coincidence that they followed a heavenly light to find the Light of the world. It took a light set apart from this world. A light that would not be able to be blocked from the distractions of this world. A light that led them along a path where at the end they would be changed forever. Our own path to Christ can be very similar. The only difference is that instead of a Heavenly Star lifted high we follow the heavenly perfect sacrifice of the cross lifted high for all to see. The result is still the same. We are changed forever.
How do we know the Magi were changed? They did not take the easy way home. Through their encounter with Christ, they recognized the evil that lay ahead of them if they did not change the way they were going. Herod and the sins of jealousy and deceit were along the path they had come. They had become enlighten by their finding of Jesus, so they were able to find a different path home. Although it would have been so easy just to retrace their steps, they chose a more difficult way. A way to avoid the sins of Herod and this world.
Our own encounter with Christ has the same effect. Once we find our way to the cross of Our Lord we are fundamentally changed forever. We can look back on the difficult path we traveled to find Christ and know that those steps should be avoided. Sometimes, though, those paths cannot be avoided. We can still change those paths, not by finding a different way, but by taking Christ along with us down those paths. By meeting Christ in prayer and in the sacraments, there is no path too dangerous. It is during those dangerous times where Christ protects us from danger from outside and from within. We can use our Blessed Mother who is a great example of a difficult but holy road. She watched her beloved son grow and become the man God meant him to be, only to see him betrayed and crucified. How could she deal with such tragedy? Because she took the whole life of Christ and treasured it and always reflected on it in her heart. She had total and complete faith in her Son and our Heavenly Father. Her faith is what truly changed her forever, just as our faith will do the same.
May Jesus live in our hearts forever.