“Those Magi, those kings are actually Chinese”
Sermon by Anthony Le to the Chinese community on The Epiphany of the Lord Mass
Do you know why I know for sure Adam and Eve were not Vietnamese? Because if they were, they would already have finished the snake! And those 3 kings must be Chinese. Well, let me prove it to you. First, they are from the East and China is from the East. Second, they offer Jesus three specific gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You know I watched Chinese Kung-Fu movies, and I saw all of that. Kings got them all, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all the spices, all the beautiful stuff. So, I am certain those three kings were Chinese. Joking aside, ancient Chinese kings or emperors, Vietnam kings, or Roman emperors declared themselves sons of God, at least made it clear that they were sons of the Highest; and they demanded their people to worship them as such. They offered them gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Now, notice that in today’s Gospel, we celebrate the manifestation of our lord Jesus to all nations. We don’t know who they are, but we did know for sure that they don’t belong to God’s people. They were gentiles. They are people who know science. They followed their heart longing and searching for the truth; they were looking for truth. Nevertheless, their scientific experimentation can lead them only that far; the astronomers were following the movement of the stars. The scientist’s world can only reveal the mystery of the creation of life to some extent. We cannot completely understand the mystery of this created world. And they came to God’s people! God’s people understand and have the correct answer. They pinpoint exactly where Jesus will be born. At the end, they encountered Jesus. They worshiped him, and they offered him what mostly be offered to a king. Now, they declared Jesus their own King. Amazing, isn’t it?
This is a great lesson for you and me. What are the stars of today leading you and me? Whether it is from the east, Vietnam, or China, Taipei or everywhere. What has led you and I? The Faith. The Faith is the North Star that leads you and me here in this church today. We come to encounter God, we come with our gift. Not with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but we worship him and offer him our very self. As of today, we should think of big things in placement of all those gifts.
First, instead of gold, let’s offer him a golden heart that knows how to love. When we come to him, let’s honor him with a golden heart that dares to love our brothers and sisters. Heart that dares to reach out to those who need it. Heart that dares to respect one another, respect the culture, respect those we do not even understand. That heart our Lord says, dare to love God, dare to love your neighbor, and dare to embrace the enemy. So, we do not have to be full of ourselves, but others and God; so that we could make this world a little bit more lovable.
The second thing we offer is our hands. These hands of ours. Let’s ask the good Lord to give us the strength that we can offer our hands, hands that build the community, hands that believe the forgiveness of sins. If someone has done anything against us, we acknowledge the pain that we have, and dare to untie the knots of that entanglement. Let’s see what our Lord has done, our Lord tells you and me, if we bring a gift to the altar, if we acknowledge that we have someone of our own, our brothers and sisters have something against us, we should go back, put the gift over there, go back and reconcile. Untie the knot, because if we keep that rage or don’t untie the knot, somebody has been held up by our anger and sin. Thus, we are no longer free, and we won’t let anyone else free either. And we won’t be able to receive God’s forgiveness. So, let’s offer these hands, hands that build our community, hands that break down the barriers, hands that release one another, from sin, from hatred, from anger, from our own house, our relationship, our family, and all that.
And the last thing, we offer our last gift, our feet. Our feet, not running away from hardship, not running away from the tasks of love, but running toward God, running toward those who need, running toward those who need our help. Our Lord Jesus, at the end, He said: One day we will appear before the judge, he does not ask you how many things that you have, how much money you have in the bank; He is going to ask you: How many poor people have you served? How many cups of water do you give away? How many people are naked, and you clothe them, How much love did we share? How many steps have you taken forward with those feet?
So, my brother and sisters, those are the three things: Golden heart, merciful hands, and quick feet, are our offerings to our amazing King. Action must be accompanied with words, and the words have to be accompanied by actions. Fascinating though, at the end of the Gospel, you knew just what happened. The magi, in their dream, were told not to go back to Herod (even Herod had given them a correct answer). That is a reminder for those who encountered Jesus. For those who are full of sincerity, giving gold,frankincense, myrrh, heart, hand and feet, they actually walk a new path. They don’t return to their old ways - full of lies, full of danger. They walk on a new path. That is the path of Christ. So, my brothers and sisters, let’s prove to the world that you and I had encountered Christ. We work with our church, we work at home, we work like new people, inspired by the love of Christ, and not afraid of sharing with others. The manifestation of Christ will continue thanks to our golden hearts. If our feet walk like Jesus, our hands serve and care like Jesus, our hearts fill others with love and affection, then, we are manifestations of Christ in the world. May God bless us all, and may God bless you, and I know for sure, those Magi, those kings are actually Chinese.
你知道為什麼我確定亞當和夏娃不是越南人？ 因為他們是的話，蛇早就被他們吃掉了。 我也確信那三位國王一定是中國人。福音上說這三個國王來自東方，中國在東方。 又提到了他們向耶穌獻上了三種特殊的禮物，黃金、乳香、沒藥。 你們知道我愛看中國的功夫片，在我看過的片中。 所有中國的國王都有黃金、乳香、沒藥。不但如此，他們擁有所有的香料和所有美麗的東西。 所以我確定那三個國王一定是中國人。在古代，中國的國王，皇帝，越南的國王或羅馬皇帝都宣稱自己是至高無上天主的兒子，要求所有的人民，獻上黃金、乳香和沒藥來朝拜他。
我們今天慶祝天主向萬民顯現聖子耶穌的誕生。有三位國王得到了訊息，我們不知道他們是誰，但我們知道他們是外邦人，科學家，但不是天主召選的子民。 他們渴求真相，找尋真理。 但是科學的實驗和觀察星座的運轉有它的限制，只能有限地揭示生命的歷史和它的創造，並不能完整地了解創世的奧秘。 這三位智者來到天主選民的地方，選民知道他問題的答案，精確地吿訴他們耶穌將出生的地方。 最後，他們遇到了耶穌，敬拜祂，獻上準備要獻給君王的禮物，並且宣稱耶穌為他們的君王。 這是不是很神奇嗎？
這段福音給了我們一個很好的教導。 讓我們問問自己，那引領著我們的星星在哪裏？ 那引導我們從東方，越南，中國，台北，世界各地來到這裡的星星是什麼？ 它是信仰的星星。信仰是引導我們來到這裡的北極星。 我們帶著禮物在這裡與天主相遇。我們的禮物不是黃金、乳香和沒藥。我們的禮物是將我們獻上自己來朝拜祂。 現在我們該以更珍貴的禮物來獻給那擁有全世界的天主。
首先，我們要獻給祂一顆愛的金心。 三賢士的第一個禮物是黃金，我們要用一顆像黃金般的愛心來崇拜祂。 一顆愛的心，勇於向需要的人伸出援手， 互相尊重，尊重文化，甚至尊重那些我們不了解的人的心。那就是主耶穌所說的那顆敢於愛天主，愛近人，甚至敢於擁抱敵人的心。 我們謙卑自己，將自己充滿了愛人，和愛主的心思，讓世界更為可愛。
我們的第二個禮物是我們的雙手。 我們懇求仁慈的主賜給我們雙手力量，來建立社區，並相信罪過的赦免。如果有人冒犯了你，傷害了你，你那雙手仍然有力量來解開那憤怒的死結。 主說，”你若在祭枱前，要獻你的禮物時，在那裏想起你的弟兄有什麼怨你的事，就把你的禮物留在那裏，留在祭枱前，先去與你的弟兄和好”。 解開這個結吧，因為只要我們之間還有冤怒，拒絕打開這個結，憤怒和罪過就束縛了我們，眾人都失去了自由。更可怕的是我們無法得到天主的的寬恕。所以讓我們向主耶穌獻出這雙建立社區，清除障礙，將我們的家庭和關係從罪惡、仇恨、憤怒中釋放出來的手作禮物。 最後一件禮物是我們的腳。 這雙腳不逃避苦難，接受愛的任務，奔向天主，奔向需要幫助的人。 主說：有一天我們會站在判官的面前，祂不問你擁有多少東西，也不問你銀行裡有多少錢，他問你：你幫助過多少窮人？你送了多少杯水給口渴的人？你為多少赤身露體的人穿上衣裳？你分享了多少的愛？ 你用那雙腳向前走了多少步？
所以，兄弟姐妹們，純金般的愛心、仁慈的手，和敏捷的腳。這三件就是我們獻給天主的禮物。別忘了“聖言必有善行相隨，善行必有聖言光照”。 更令人驚嘆的是在這篇福音的結尾，三王在夢中得到天主的指示不要再回到黑洛德那裡去—雖然黑洛德告訴了他們如何找到耶穌。 天主提醒那些充滿了誠意，奉獻黃金、乳香、沒藥、愛心、和有勤奮手腳的人，與耶穌相遇的人，從今以後要走一條新的道路。 再也不回到那條充滿了謊言，危險的舊路上。兄弟姐妹們，讓我們向世界見證我們遇到了基督。 我們受到基督愛的啟發，在教會，在家裡，像全新的人一樣地工作。並且願意與人分享。 藉著純金般的愛心、讓我們的手像耶穌一樣地服侍和關心，腳像耶穌一樣地勤奮行走，基督將繼續向世人顯現。 讓我們用愛和關懷來充滿這世界，成為基督在世上的體現。 願天主保佑我們，保佑你。現在我可以明確地吿訴你，那三位智者，東方來的三個國王都是中國人。