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Seeing True Treasure
The greatest archeological find, ever, was the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls. When the Romans went to war with the Jews in Jerusalem, rich aristocrats took their precious scrolls of the Bible, walked into a pottery shop, bought clay jars, and hid the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea at the Jordan rife. They must have died during the war and never retrieved their books. In the 1940s, a couple of young boys were goofing around, throwing rocks in one of the caves. They heard a crash, crawled into one of the caves, and found the jars. They took the scroll to an antique dealer to sell it for candy. The antique dealer asked them, “These are pretty old writings, fellers. Where did you get them?” And that is how the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The two boys were not the first to discover the scrolls. Others went into the caves, saw the pottery jars, dumped the scrolls on the ground, and took the jars. That is like throwing away the winning megabucks ticket and keeping the empty envelope. The two kids made the greatest archeological discovery because they saw and recognized the true treasure.
If you look at a Hallmark Christmas card, you will often see a fireball in the sky representing Jesus’ star. Unfortunately, the hallmark Christmas card does not get it right. Jesus’ star did not look like a fireball in the sky but looked like any other star. It took someone with the eyes of faith to discern it. Herod was not that someone, but the wise men were. All the stars are the same size, so it took a wise person to spot Jesus’ star.
In the ancient world, making friends with the superpowers was a good idea. You do that by bearing gifts to them like gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Superpowers could protect you from enemies and offer trading opportunities to bolster your economy.
There were two kings. One was Herod, who was powerful, had a great army and was backed by the Roman Empire. The second king was a baby in his mother’s arms. It took a wise person to see the king with the true power who could transform the world.
Like the stars in the sky, many things catch our eye, but only some things we see have value. At the end of our lives, we do not want to hold an empty envelope or vase when we could have had the word of God. The story of the Magi tells us that there is something great out there. We have the eyes to see it.Back to All Homilies