01-06-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Today, we celebrate Epiphany Sunday. This special feast, celebrated on January 6, commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus. Some Eastern Rite Churches celebrate their Christmas on this day. Epiphany simply means the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the gentile world.

One common question that many people ask about the celebration of Epiphany is that: "If the Magi were called Wise Men because they followed the star to find the child Jesus, is it okay then to believe in `horoscope?" The answer is No! Horoscope is a form of idolatry - a sin against the First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me." (Exodus) Horoscope readers need to ask themselves who is in charge of their lives, the stars or God? Believing that the stars control our lives contradicts our belief that God is in charge of our lives. The Church states clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that:

"All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums; all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone." (CCC 2116)

All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity (CCC 2117).

Why then do we call them Wise Men? They were called Wise Men because they were pagans, seeking God. Before they set out on their journey to Bethlehem to worship Jesus, they were star-readers; however, their journey was both a physical and interior journey that led them from paganism to being worshipers of Christ.