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Seeing the Treasure
The greatest archeological find, period, was the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls. Rich aristocrats who could read owned biblical scrolls. They had these scrolls because they wanted to learn more about God so they could make a difference in the world. When the Romans went to war with the Jews in Jerusalem, these aristocrats 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, crawled into one of the caves, and found the jar. 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 up at the stars, there are many, and they are all about the same size. One of those stars in the ancient world was Jesus’s star. Many of us imagine a huge fireball in the sky. The people at Hallmark who make Christmas cards picture this. I want to think that “His” star was one of the smaller ones, one that would take a wise man to notice, or a wise man to spot, or one who would say, “That star wasn’t there before; it must be special. I will follow that one.” Herod and all the others never noticed it, so I assume the star was one among many. It took a wise man to see the value of one over the others.
It would have made sense politically and economically if the Magi opened their treasures and gave King Herod their gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Making friends with the superpower would be a big advantage in the ancient world. Not many people would want to be your enemy. Yet, the Magi saw something much greater.
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