Epiphany of the Lord
So much of my life has been wondering and looking. Wondering would I finish school; would I land a well-paying job; would I have a horde of children like my parents…? Nearing the end of.my life at 72 years old, I see the world much differently now. All I could see were opportunities in my 20’s and unlike today there were many for a young white man with an education. I pursued a number of them, and then ended up settling for a career in teaching boys ten to fifteen years old who exhibited severe emotional/behavioral problems.
Looking back, I’m not sure who taught whom. Yes, I had the title of teacher, but I often found myself on the learning side of the equation. My teaching career brought me in touch with children on the margins. While most were above average in intelligence, they didn’t come to school with all the accouterments 20th century America thought were important. Many didn’t have the right color skin. Many never learned basic social skills and many suffered from abuse and neglect. In short, they didn’t have the gifts I was given.
In today’s scripture readings we read about the Magi, three evidently gifted people in their world, visiting a poor baby who of course, is totally at the mercy of those around him. They bring their gifts and offer them to the baby Jesus. What Matthew doesn’t tell us though, are the gifts that the baby Jesus gave to them. If my experience means anything, the Magi got much more than the baby Jesus.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.