Sunday, January 2, 2011


There are numerous references/allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures buried in today’s Gospel of the Magi’s visit to the Holy Family. They can be found in Psalm 72 and Isaiah (which feature dominantly in the Scriptures of the liturgy of this day), to say nothing of Numbers 24.

One reference that you won’t find (seemingly) is from my favorite book of the “Deutero-Canonical Writings,” Tobit. This is a marvelous story that deserves to be read and savored for its impact and its delight (and for its happy ending). It has angels, it has good people rewarded, it has magical deliverance from demons, it has macabre graveyard humor, and it even has the Old Testament equivalent of “Old Yeller.”

But for our purposes it also has an image directly applicable to today’s Gospel scene:

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth; many nations will come to you from afar, and the inhabitants of all the limits of the earth, drawn to you by the name of the Lord God, bearing in their hand their gifts for the King of heaven. (Tobit 13:11a, emphasis added)

Not even the original Jerusalem Bible (with its 300 cross-references for every verse) makes this connection. Perhaps I should simply shut up and admit that the scholars and Biblical translators know far more than I do.

But I offer the passage to anyway, and I hope that it invites you to enter into a world of story that is delightful and profound and important.

Whether or not you (or the scholars) agree with me on this point, I do hope you will read this (extra-)Biblical book and have a blessed Epiphany!

PS—“Bonus points” if you can identify the reference in the title of this post…

1 comment:

  1. No comments yet on the proposed readings, but a web site explored the title of this post: Now there is something you don't see everyday, Chauncey.....

    The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show....said Edgar
    Actually, the title engendered many comments from quite varied backgrounds, but only the above show seemed to be known for this notable quote.