And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. ~Matthew 2:12
The words above are taken from the gospel reading assigned for today’s mass. The “they” referred to in the passage are the Wise Men from the East who traveled to Bethlehem to worship the Christ Child. After worshiping the Infant Christ, they were instructed by God in a dream not to return to tell King Herod where the they had found Jesus.
It seems to always happen that way. We have a real encounter with Christ and things are never the same again. We can’t go back the way we came. We are called to a new, more radical way of traveling.
Has it ever happened that after an encounter with Christ, maybe for the first time, maybe for the umpteenth time, you lead to “depart…by another way” than the road you were traveling on? It has happened to me, for sure. This little adventure in gospel living that is my vocation is a much different path than the one I had dreamed up for myself. And yet, God’s Dream for me has been so much more spiritually rich and more satisfying on every level than anything I had ever imagined on my own.
For the Wise Men the new direction of travel started when they met the new born King. It started for me when I said “yes” to a longing for God placed in my heart in March of 1983. When did you begin traveling home by a different way?
My hope for you, dear brother, dear sister, is that you will say “yes” to God’s Dream for you in this new year. If you are unclear what God’s Dream for you is, I encourage you to seek out someone with whom you can discern the path Our Blessed Lord is calling you to walk.
The Lord’s Path for you will not be an easy one to follow. It will involve crosses to bear along the way. As disciples of Jesus we are assured that our personal salvation is worked out with fear and trembling (cf. Philippians 2:12). But the Dream God has for you is a dream worth embracing, even if it means departing from your self-made plans and departing for your heavenly home by another way.
Merry Christmas & Blessed Epiphany to you.