“And then… they departed for their country by another way.” (John 2:12)
This week my friend George in Harrisville sent me this cute cartoon. It's titled, 'The Three Wise Men on their way home.
It shows the Three Wise Men, looking really confused on their camels, engaging in a conversation that many of us might find all too familiar.
One says, 'I thought we came from that way.'
The second says, 'Are you sure there's no South Star?'
The third says, 'I told you we should have asked Mary for directions.'
As we celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, we are reminded of their departure 'by another way' after being divinely warned in a dream.
Their journey, altered by this mysterious dream, is a symbol of transformation—a key theme of this feast.
This transformative journey is just like an event that happened recently in India. Just before Christmas, a group of 41 workers were rescued after being trapped for over two weeks in a tunnel that collapsed.
The workers were surrounded by darkness, with their situation getting worse and worse by the minute. Yet, through the perseverance and tireless efforts of their rescuers, they were brought back into the light.
This real-life event echoes profoundly with the spiritual journey we all undertake. The Magi's journey led them to a physical encounter with Christ, changing their path home.
In the same way, the workers' ordeal led them to an encounter with the preciousness of life and hope—a reminder that, often, it is in the moments of greatest darkness that we find the most profound light.
Now, that experience can help us understand what 'departing by another way' really means. It's not merely about a change in physical direction but also a transformation of heart and spirit.
Just as the workers emerged from the darkness with a renewed appreciation for life, we too are called to emerge from our encounters with Christ, transformed and renewed.
Today, we are invited to consider what it means to 'depart for their country by another way.'
For us, this does not mean a change in physical direction alone but signifies a transformation in how we live our lives. To go 'another way' means to live 'in a different way'—a way that reflects the light and love of Christ in our actions and choices.
It's a commitment to carry the joy of this encounter into our ordinary, everyday lives: to be Christ for others in compassion, patience, and generosity.
At every mass we encounter Christ, truly present in the bread and wine. Each Mass is a personal epiphany, where we encounter the divine made tangible.
Through the Eucharist, we are united with the Wise Men in their journey, for we too are filled with awe and wonder at the presence of God with us.
In this Eucharistic encounter, we receive not just bread and wine, but the very person of Christ, who empowers us to become beacons of His light in the world and sharing the light of Christ with everyone we meet.
And so, as we prepare to leave this sacred space, having been nourished by the Word and the Eucharist, let us resolve to take a different path, a path illuminated by Christ's light.
May this light guide your decisions, your actions, and your very being.
Like the Magi, may we be ever changed, ever guided, ever joyful in our journey 'by another way'—the way of Christ.