Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage. (Matthew 2:8)
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, and the birthday of St. Gaspar del Bufalo our founder. Technically his birthday is tomorrow, but he was born on the Feast of the Epiphany, and given the traditional names of the Magi. Like the Magi, Gaspar had the heart of a wanderer. He desired to emulate St. Francis Xavier and travel to the ends of the Earth. While he never left present-day Italy, he was constantly on the road sharing the Good News of Jesus. The Magi were seeking for Jesus to offer him gifts. Gaspar carried Jesus with him to give him as a gift to the people of God.
I want to focus our attention on the words of King Herod. We know that Herod’s purpose was not to pay homage to Jesus, but to kill him. But his words, while not spoken truthfully, are good advice to us. We too are called to search diligently for the child to do him homage and having found him, share him with others.
St. Gaspar lived a life of prayer, constantly searching for Jesus. He desired to know his Lord as deeply as possible. He knew that our lives are empty if they are not rooted in a diligent life of prayer. We are called to emulate him. As we begin 2020, this is a great opportunity to examine our own life of prayer, and ask where it is that we could more diligently seek the child
Gaspar regularly sat in the presence of the Lord and did him homage. His prayer was a constant dialogue between him and Christ, in which he not only asked the Lord for grace and interceded for others, but simply sat and acknowledged the greatness of God. As busy as we are these days, it seems that we could benefit from taking time out from our busy-ness to simply sit with the Lord, acknowledging his greatness and do him homage.
But Gaspar’s prayer life was not just about growing in personal holiness to ensure his place in heaven. No, his prayer, his ministry, his whole life was about sharing the Good News of the Precious Blood of Jesus with the world. Despite his limited geographic footprint, he had the heart of a missionary. It is wholly appropriate that he was named for the Magi. They represent the whole world coming to know Jesus, and Gaspar’s greatest desire was to share the salvation won for us in the Precious Blood with the world.
As we celebrate this Epiphany and remember the birth of our founder, let us take Herod’s words to heart. Let us seek diligently for the child in our lives of prayer. Let us never tire of paying homage to our Lord. And may our prayer energize us as it did St. Gaspar to share the Good News of the Precious Blood with the world.
Fr. Steve Dos Santos, C.PP.S., is the Missionaries’ vocation director.