The story of the Three Kings or the Magi from the East has always provoked diverse feelings and insights in me. I think of the many desires that often take possession of our hearts, the many thoughts that clamor for attention in our minds, and the stream of voices that pound our ears each day, from the TV, political and ideological positions, to the variety of convictions about the meaning of human life. How can we, in the midst of all the cacophony, determine which direction the Lord is leading us? It is hard for us adults, and even harder for the younger generation! But unless we have learned to listen and discriminate THE VOICE of the Lord from the many voices within and outside us, we run the risk of either following the “popular opinion” or we simply follow our whims or the suggestive insinuations of others without thinking. How often this happens!

The discipline listening and discriminating that gentle voice of the Lord is what the Three Kings did. Consider how they were able to discern a UNIQUE STAR in the vast array of stars in the heavens. How were they able to do it if not by a closer and sincere observation and attentiveness? Once they discerned the meaning of that Star, they followed it in obedience. The Unique Star, that gentle voice of the Lord in the noisy surrounding will always lead to self-surrender. When they arrived before the child Jesus in the manger, they surrendered what they had – gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts could mean one of two things: the greatest wealth they possessed, or the tools they used in their magical and astrological trade. The two interpretations lead to one conclusion: before Jesus Christ they surrendered themselves in worship to the Lord of the whole universe.

This total surrender disposes them further to listen to the voice of the Lord, who directed them to go home through a different route. As we surrender to God we empty ourselves of false ideas, opposing desires and make more space for the Lord in our hearts. Then we can listen better, and we can follow Him more resolutely amidst the odds and oppositions we may encounter.

Listening and surrendering to God have always been the learned discipline of every genuine missionary activity of the Church in all parts of the world. Missionary activity or the proclamation of the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ is sparked off by listening and surrendering. Remember the still voice of Our Lord that asked Mother Teresa to leave the Loreto convent for the slums of Calcutta. That voice was the unique star that guided Mother Teresa to India and for the rest of her life she never derailed from Her guidance. God constantly shows us a unique star that leads us on our way.

We just pray at the beginning of this year for the grace to continue to clear our eyes and hearts and minds to be able to see and follow the guiding Star from Heaven that guides each one of us. May this year be one of great blessings from the Lord. Amen