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Liturgy

Let us follow the Magi

Let us arise, following the magi. Let us leave the world with its worries and, as for us, let us run joyfully to the place where the child dwells. If kings or peoples try to block our way, why should we care? Let us not diminish in our fervor, let us cast aside all the evils that threaten us. If they had not seen the child the wise men would not have escaped from the danger they ran on Herod's part. Before they had the happiness of beholding him they were besieged by fears, surrounded by perils, immersed in difficulties. But after they had worshiped him, peace and security inhabited their hearts...

Therefore let us, too, leave behind a city in disarray, a bloodthirsty tyrant, all this world's wealth and let us come to Bethlehem, the spiritual “house of bread”. If you are a shepherd, only come and you will see the child in the stable. If you are a king, your fine clothing and all the brilliance of your rank will bring no advantage if you do not come. If you are a man of learning as the magi were, not all your knowledge will save you unless you come to pay him your respects. If you are a foreigner, even a barbarian, you will be admitted entrance to the court of this king... It suffices to come with fear and joy, those two sentiments that inhabit the truly christian heart...

Before worshiping this child, free yourself from all encumbrances. If you are rich, place your gold at his feet – that is to say, give to the poor. These foreigners came from so far away to behold this newborn infant, how could you... refuse to take a few steps to visit a sick person or a prisoner?... The magi offered their treasures to Jesus and don't you have so much as a piece of bread to give him? (Mt 25,35f). Their hearts were filled with joy when they saw the star; do you see Christ in the poor, lacking everything, and pass aside? Are you not moved?

St John Chrysostom (c.345-407), priest at Antioch then Bishop of Constantinople, Doctor of the Church

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