To Wonder With God – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily January 3, 2021

“In today’s Gospel we hear the story of the wide men and they’re journey to Christ, but I want to tell how that looks in the spiritual life. I think the Magi’s journey gives us an example of our own journey in the spiritual life in five points.

First, they gaze at a star, they’re astronomers. They study the stars, but not only that, they study how it interacts with their faith. What is God calling them to do? If you ever try to look at stars you can’t really do it in the city can you? There’s too much noise, noise and light, in terms of light, but if you go in the distant country areas where it’s dark, it’s quiet, there’s not a lot of light, you can see the stars more clearly. Do we gaze at the stars and wonder what God’s will for us is? Another way of doing that is by going to the adoration chapel where there is no noise. You’re kind of gazing at the Eucharist and you’re wondering what God’s will is for you. You’re being with the Lord, so the first step is always to gaze, to wonder with God, to hear what God is calling you to do.

The second step in the spiritual life is action, faith and works, but action. Our prayer life, our gazing , our time in adoration doesn’t keep us to ourselves. It always calls us out of ourselves and so the Magi, gazing at the stars, they go on a journey and for us we kind of glance by this, but in the time of Christ going on a journey was very dangerous. Oftentimes they wrote their wills, they said their goodbyes because they never knew if they would come home. It was very dangerous to travel, but for us- when we pray does it call us to action, to go out of ourselves? When we go to the adoration chapel does it change us to do something outside of ourselves. So gazing, praying and then calls us to action.

The third step in the spiritual life is that you will always have opposition in your life. When you start to follow the way of God, start your journey in the spiritual life you will always have opposition. Not sometimes, not most of the time, you will always have opposition. That’s why prayer is hard. Oftentimes we think that if I’m praying it should be easy and if it’s not easy then I’m not doing it right, but praying is hard because in a lot of ways it’s not relying on your own self, but letting go more say so that you’re relying more on God’s will. When you start, the oppositions of your life can come from your family, come from the world, but there’s always opposition and for the Magi it was Herod. Herod was a king and when he heard that there was another king born that opposes his own power, he tried to use the Magi to get to Christ. There’s always opposition.

The fourth is giving the gifts. The Magi give the gifts to Christ of gold, frankincense and myrrh, really of this time they’re precious gifts. They’re very valuable gifts, but as we enter into the spiritual life do we give the precious gifts of our own lives, the ones that are valuable to you whether it be your time, talent or treasure? Do we give the most precious ones to Christ, to God or are giving the leftovers, kinda the second thought, now I give these things to God in my life? But the Magi give the very best. They give the very best of themselves to God and so into the spiritual life it calls us to something more, to give the very best of ourselves to God.

And last, at the very end, the Magi go home a different way. The angel appears to them and says, ‘Go home a different way.’ And so too with us that if we follow these steps, the last step is transformation. God isn’t calling us to be nice people, but he’s calling us to transform our lives. He’s calling us to a new creation to follow his will. So we can never go back the way we came, but we always go a different way once we hit that point.

So the Magi today in Epiphany give us this example of the spiritual life give us this example of the spiritual life, however it is in your life, they generally come from those five that we gaze in the stars, gaze in the hearts our deepest desires with God to follow what is his will for us. We have the courage to take action to take action towards that way. We persevere through the difficulties, the oppositions. Christ always calls us to persevere in our prayer. We give the very best of ourselves to God and in doing so it transforms our lives and we can no longer go back to the way we once were, but we go a new way, in that way God is calling us each day. So as we reflect on that as we come to receive the Eucharist today where Christ is truly present before you in the Eucharist let us have the strength and courage to sit with God, the courage to act upon the greatest desires in our hearts, to persevere in our prayers and ultimately give the best of our lives to Him. Amen.”