What Are You Looking For?
The Epiphany of the Lord
January 4, 2015
MT 2:1-12

I recently heard an interview of a 25-year-old woman named Lt. Heidi Beemer; who is currently stationed at a U.S. Army base in Arkansas serving in a chemical defense company. That is enough to make her a person of interest. But what has attracted the attention of NPR (National Public Radio) to the point that her interview that aired this past week was her second of 2014, is the fact that she is a “Mars One Candidate.”

Lt. Beemer is among a small, select group of young people associated with a non-profit corporation called: “Mars One” which is working to establish the first colony on Mars by 2025. Within the span of only 10 years, this young adventurer hopes to fulfill her childhood dream of “leaving Earth to represent humanity on Mars.”

It was an interesting interview, but I was disappointed that the reporter did not ask the follow-up question: WHY? What do you hope to accomplish? Are you looking for gold or some other precious element? Do you want to establish new markets to expand the U.S. economy? Is it your hope to lay claim to and develop vast expanses of virgin real estate in order to accommodate our growing population here on Earth? What is your ambition for this great adventure? I also wish the reporter had asked Lt. Beemer what her parents think…how her siblings feel…whether her friends are supportive…or do people think she has lost her senses?

Like the NPR interview of the young explorer, St. Matthew’s report on the adventurers from places unknown, east of Bethlehem, is dramatic…exciting…thought provoking…and engages the (creative-religious) imagination of the listener. However, there are missing details and it might prove worthwhile to use our “religious imagination” and take what we do know…what has been reported, in order to suggest answers to unasked questions.

We know there was Prophecy…the star…the encounter with evil…the warning…the reception by Mary and Joseph…the recognition of what was revealed to them as they entered the place where The Child was. In fact, “the recognition” of what was made apparent to them is at the very core of this Feast of the Epiphany. We know that these adventurers were so moved by what they experienced that they humbled themselves before the infant child whom they encountered. We know they offered highly symbolic and meaningful gifts. Finally, we know that they returned home another way. They changed directions!

Taking what we do know, it would seem that an appropriate answer to the simple question “WHY?” might well be: “It’s as if we were chosen. We were inspired by something or someone above and beyond ourselves, extending an invitation we couldn’t resist.”

“WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?” We want to find a new world, one where all people live together in peace and justice with mutual respect for one another regardless of differences in appearance or beliefs. We hope to be part of a new beginning, a fresh start.

“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?” We are looking for someone who will lead us! We are not looking to enrich ourselves by the journey. We are looking to enrich all of humankind. We aren’t seeking new lands to dominate…we are seeking The Kingdom of God!

Had Lt. Beemer been asked those questions, and had she answered them in the way that creative-religious imagination suggests answers that the Magi might have given to the same queries…then I hope and pray that she realizes her childhood dream. I hope and pray that this young woman realizes her childhood ambition of “leaving Earth to represent humanity on Mars.”

But it is important to remember that you don’t have to leave Earth, or even your home, in order to find what the Magi were seeking! It has all been revealed to us in Christ Jesus Our Lord! Amen!