The Magi: Witnesses to Truth Overlooked by Others

News: Commentary
by Fr. George Rutler  •  •  January 4, 2020   

Like them, Christians must see through today's confusion

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Who the "Wise Men" were is a recurring question for inventive debate, but the point is that these sophisticated scholars were from "a foreign country."

Here in Manhattan, tourists can be annoying when they stop suddenly to look at a novel sight. But they also do us the favor of noticing what we take for granted. Those Magi from a foreign land pointed out that the locals had missed the greatest event in history.

They also wisely distrusted King Herod (his heir Archelaus was even worse, as St. Joseph knew), and so they ignored him. When Herod found out that a child had come into the world who threatened his complacency, he set out to destroy Him, killing many innocents in the attempt.

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Christians must always be tourists in this earthly realm, pointing out the wonders that others take for granted. That can be threatening to many. True Christians disturb the settled ways of a culture. People who succumb to the insanity of sin will accuse Christians of madness.

That is how we get martyrs, as happened a couple of weeks ago in Nigeria when Muslims killed 11 Christians. Such hostility was an expression of the killers' conviction that Jesus Christ brought madness into the world.

The function of prophets is to point out that inmates are running the asylum.

In a 1959 Twilight Zone television episode called "Eye of the Beholder," some exceedingly ugly people unsuccessfully perform plastic surgery on a beautiful woman, thinking that she is the one who is ugly.

In our decaying culture, there are those who think that history's Perfect Man was ugly and that those who are like Him should be crucified one way or another, usually by ridicule and censorship. The media and demagogic politicians do this as a habit.

A boy presented truth to an LGBT march in Poland.

In recent days, a woman in Britain gave birth, although she was bearded after hormonal treatments that made her appear as the man she had "transitioned" to be 12 years before. Her partner is "non-binary," which means neither male nor female, and the "sperm donor" was a man who thinks he is a woman, while the obstetrician, according to vague reports, was either a man who claims to be a woman or a woman who claims to be a man.

Thus, our rattled culture poses a dilemma: Either these people are mentally ill, or Christians are. And this is not confined to the esoteric.

An Ivy League institution has just mailed forms to alumni, asking them to choose the descriptive pronoun they prefer. This gives new meaning to "institution."

And this is why sane voices increasingly are banned from speaking in such places — because the function of prophets is to point out that inmates are running the asylum.

Observant souls never take for granted the sanity Christ brought into the world. Salvation means sanity. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints" (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Father George W. Rutler is pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in the archdiocese of New York. His Sunday homilies are archived. He has authored multiple books, including Calm in Chaos: Catholic Wisdom in Anxious Times and his latest, Grace and Truth. Individuals may donate to his parish.


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