Searching and Finding

Antonio P. Pueyo
The Epiphany
January 8, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

The Wise Men from the East were filled with great joy when the star led them to the manger and "they saw the child with Mary his mother (Mt. 2:11)." They found what they were searching for.

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord. This feast is popularly known as the feast of the Three Kings, otherwise known as the magi, or wise men. The infancy narrative does not specifically mention how many there were. Since there were three gifts mentioned, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the tradition that there were three kings developed. They are always depicted as riding on camels, perhaps because the first reading taken from the prophet Isaiah mentions "the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall com e (Isaiah 60:6)." In paintings of the nativity scene, one of the kings is shown as a colored person to underline the message that they came from foreign lands and that they were Gentiles. In the second reading, St. Paul speaks of salvation for all, "the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph.3:6)."

For our reflection, let us start with these questions: What are we looking for? Are we in search of God? Do we undertake the hard journey to find what we are searching for?

The story is told of a young fish who was seen by an older fish away from his home. The older fish asked, "Why are you so far from home?" He answered, "I am searching for the ocean." "You stupid fish, you are in the ocean," said the elder. "But this is only water I see," said the young fish.

Action starter: What do you seek? (Jn. 1:38)

What do people search for nowadays? Some search for love. Others search for opportunities to improve their lives. Artists look for a break, a chance to showcase their ability. The more philosophically inclined say that they are looking for meaning. The social reformers are searching for justice. Intellectuals search for truth. Those on the survival level simply say, they are looking for something to eat. Whatever it is that we are looking for, we want something better in life. We are searching for some kind of salvation. We are in search of happiness. As St. Augustine said, "You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts ar e restless until they rest in you."

Like St. Augustine, we may have searched for happiness in cults, pleasures, ideas, works, travels, companions. If we are serious in our search for happiness and salvation, we will find out that the search leads to the manger. The search leads to Jesus. In knowing Jesus, we may find out that life is more happily lived when we live for God, when we appreciate our own self as Gods gift, when we become persons for others, when we make a difference through our loving involvement in this world, and when we belong to a community of disciples.

The Three Kings looked for Jesus and they found Him. St. Augustine looked for God and having found Him wrote in his Confessions:

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you... You were with me, but I was not with you.

Like the small fish, we look for the big ocean when all the while we are swimming in it.

Keep searching. Keep growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus. He is the fulfillment of our quest.