GPS

Before my iPhone, thinking that it would greatly enhance my getting about successfully, efficiently and yes, even stresslessly (I’m not sure this is a word but if not, it should be), I purchased a TomTom GO 510 portable GPS car navigation system. With this little unit securely placed on the dashboard of my 2002 Honda I needed only to enter in an address and within a few seconds it would plot a course for me from wherever it determined I was presently located to the very front door of my destination – and it would display, for my dining pleasure, every eatery along the route [along with gas stations, hotels hospitals and whatever else I programed it to display]. And I was never lonely, for that friendly young woman’s voice – Bonnie was her name (I could have programmed a man’s voice but as everyone knows, men don’t ask for directions and especially not from other men)– was always ready to comfort me and say ever so sweetly, “In five hundred yards, turn right.”

It was a bit eerie at first, driving off into very unfamiliar territory and trusting the directions given over the GPS. I still don’t fully understand how a GPS system knows where I am and where the roads are that I am traveling on. But they work just fine. I remember driving the children to the Wildcat playoff game in Bothell [where’s Bothell?] several years ago and followed the instructions perfectly to the stadium’s address. Finally the voice said, “In two hundred yards, turn right, and then you will have reached your destination”. Expecting to be at the entrance of a stadium I looked ahead and saw nothing but unfamiliar surroundings. It was only when I turned to look over my right shoulder that I realized we were positioned right beside the stadium [where the Wildcats lost miserably].

I am absolutely convinced the magoi must have had some kind of GPS system. Else, how could they have found the child Jesus [MT 2.1-12]? We all know they could not have followed the star – how do you follow a star anyway? Stars are actually rather motionless and fixed in position unless they are falling – actually, stars don’t even fall [where would they fall even if they could?]. It may very well have been the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that convinced the magoi that something rather significant was taking place. After all, Jupiter was considered to be the “royal” planet and Saturn was considered to represent the Jews – hence a new king of the Jews was forthcoming [not at all good news for Herod]. Jerusalem, therefore, would have made the ideal destination since from that city the kings of Jewry reigned. If so, while it would have been a pretty impressive GPS system they were using it still could not account for Matthew’s saying that, “there, ahead of them went the star [but neither stars nor planets “go” anywhere] that they had seen at its rising until it stopped [?] over the place where the child was [MT 2.9]”

It was Herod who sent the magoi to Bethlehem and there they searched for the child. Three times [May, October and November] that year the planets Jupiter and Saturn aligned. Does “stopped” mean actually stood still – or does it refer to the fact that there were no more conjunctions, in which case the child they had searched for and found was now verified to be the One for whom they had been searching all along? Talk about timing!

Well, it doesn’t really matter does it? The importance of the account lies in the fact that the magoi were meant to be at the side of the child Jesus and there to worship and adore Him. Our Father intended that they would be there, and whether by the conjunction of planets, stars moving and then standing still, or angels of light as bright as stars, He insured that they would reach their destination and at exactly the right time. And they, as those coming from the east, probably did not even have the foggiest notion of who the Father was [is]. How much more so for the likes of you and me then, will He provide us with direction for our lives?

Is it possible that even now, given the complexity of everything surrounding you, that He is guiding you so that you will come to have a clear vision of Jesus and the ministry into which He is calling you? Does He have a purpose and plan for your life? Is He able to bring you to fulfillment at exactly the right time? I think so and I trust Him to do so.

Fr. Paul+

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