Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - February 5, 2017

First Reading Commentary
In the Hebrew text the opening verse literally translates as, “Break bread with the hungry.”  While it would be proper to interpret this Reading very literally and see in it the Christian duty of taking care of the less fortunate, it’s also necessary to go deeper, past the physical aspects and allow this Reading to speak to us spiritually and prophetically.  It is our Lord Jesus Christ Who feeds the hungry with the Bread of Life.  He lifted and removed our state of oppression when He allowed Himself to be lifted up on the Cross which obliterated our slavery to sin and death. We are strangers in a foreign land who are journeying to our heavenly homeland. 

Being naked speaks of vulnerability and conveys to us how much we depend on our Lord.  The light breaking forth like the dawn is the Light of Christ Who heals our wounds of sin and suffering.  Our submission to our Savior allows His Light to shine on our darkness and the Light will always overpower the darkness; and when we do His will, His Power working through us becomes very evident as He speaks to our spirit proclaiming, “Here I am!”

Second Reading Commentary
The message Saint Paul is proclaiming here is that for the spiritual person, the wisdom, power and eloquence which derives from God is far superior to that which the world esteems.  In this letter, Paul tries to accentuate this point by asking the Corinthians to recollect his example of total reliance on the Lord when he visited Corinth.  Paul’s weakness, fear and trembling are probably a reference to his sufferings experienced in Macedonia.  At the time of this writing, Paul’s physical health may have also been a challenge for him. 

When reading Saint Paul’s letters, it’s only natural to be curious about what it must have been like to have seen this man of God in action.  Truthfully, we are not deprived of this because it is not Saint Paul but God Who is seen in action through representatives like Saint Paul. 

Today we are fortunate to have seen God in action through saintly individuals like John Paul II, Padre Pio, Father Solanus Casey and Mother Teresa of Calcutta to name several.  Have you seen God work and move in your own life?

Gospel Commentary
Salt is added to food as a seasoning which makes the food tastier.  While your doctor might tell you to avoid excessive use of it, spiritually speaking you and I as disciples of Christ are called upon to be the moral seasoning for the world in which we live.  In ancient Palestinian usage, when the salt of Christian discipleship becomes impure, then there is nothing left in the world to restore its savor. 

Saint John Chrysostom points out that the merits of Christ delivers us from the corruption of sin; but the care and labor of His disciples preserves us from returning to it again. 

The next example is light.  In a world of darkness, followers of Christ are obligated to light the path which leads to the Lord.  Our negligence in this is a nonuse of our gifts which is comparable to a lamp put under a bushel basket.  Looking at the big picture, the Church is the light of the world built upon Christ Who is the Mountain. 

We are a people of God through baptism and our destiny is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God Himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by Him at the end of time (cf. CCC 782).

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 29, 2017

First Reading Commentary
Although this Reading is specifically for those who returned to Israel after the Babylonian exile, surely all of us can relate to a figurative captivity, when things aren't going well and the weight of the world seems to rest on our shoulders.  The prophet Zephaniah's advice is to seek the Lord.  This advice might seem like a bit of a religious cliché but there are many figures in Scripture and history who have found that the Lord is indeed the answer. 

Stress has a habit of causing temporary amnesia.  There's a tendency to forget about God or push Him away and suddenly the only realistic solution is to bear it alone.  And certainly the dark side of spirituality is quite satisfied with a "do not involve God" approach.  Humility can often be over-dramatized but on a real practical level, having a daily prayer life and involving our Lord in our lives is humility. 

The Lord says He will leave in our midst a people humble and lowly who shall take refuge in Him.  The choice is ours whether or not to be a humble and lowly people, and take refuge in Him.  Where can Christ be found?  By our choice to seek Him, He is found in the Scriptures, in prayer and Eucharistic adoration; but in the ups and downs of daily life He is often found in others who have also made the choice to seek refuge in Him.  It's not necessary to be a prominent figure or reach a certain level educationally to have a meaningful relationship with our Lord.  Spiritual blindness causes reliance on physical sight only.  When putting the spiritual eyes to work, they will see that God loves us unconditionally and not because of what we have achieved in society.  After all, our Lord Jesus Christ left the pasturing of His flock and their spiritual well-being in the hands of fishermen.

Second Reading Commentary
The politics of Saint Paul's day may have been different from what we experience today but the concept of what it means to be "worldly" can easily be discerned during any period of human history.  While the individual examples of worldliness may change from age to age, the idea of what it means to be heavenly stays the same because God never changes.  That which is heavenly seeks righteousness and justice as well as mercy for those trapped in the frequent deceptions and cruelties of worldliness.  Virtually every human being seeks peace and happiness.  Unfortunately, many seek it in ways such as material wealth, power, promiscuity, or even the extremes of drug and alcohol abuse.  Worldliness dares not to exist beyond the world.  In other words, worldliness attempts to dictate what the standard for living will be and offers temptations to promote that the physicality of the here and now is all that really matters, while generally ignoring any spiritual and moral obligations. 

Sadly, today, for example, the world allows a mother-to-be to have a choice as to whether or not a human life ever gets the chance to exist in this world.  That "choice" is a deception because quite often an expectant mother is left to feel that terminating her pregnancy is the only choice she has. 

The world also allows us to decide if someone's physical or mental capabilities are still useful enough to continue to live in the world.  If this is the alternative to a Christocentric life, then as Christians we gladly accept the role of being lowly and despised.  And we are despised because the cultural standard of living is inconsistent and we are bound to make a few enemies because of it; if not as individuals - then at least in our ideologies and theologies.  Oddly enough, with the exception of those whose minds are diabolical, many people who do not accept the Christian lifestyle at least seem to have some level of respect for it.  As a faith-filled Christian, consider the occasions when others have avoided things like cursing or bringing up risqué subjects simply because you were in the same room.  That's the Power of Christ working in you and that Power can change the world; and His Power lasts far beyond the physical world.  His Power is eternal!

Gospel Commentary
Jesus is preaching what is traditionally known as the Beatitudes.  The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness". 

The mountain can be symbolic of a couple of things.  First, the mountain is Christ's pulpit which depicts Him as the Creator because from a mountain one can see all that surrounds it and thus echoes the words from the psalmist under the guidance of the Holy Spirit: "The world is Mine and the fullness thereof" (Psalm 49 [50]:12).  Secondly, as disciples of Christ, the mountain is a reminder to us that receiving the promises of the Beatitudes will be an uphill climb. 

In this Gospel passage Christ's homily is preceded by the words: "He began to teach them, saying. . .”  These words are a little more instructive in the ancient texts because they translate as: "And opening His Mouth. . .”  These words imply that Jesus was always teaching but the ancient usage chooses to make a distinction between opening His Mouth and/or speaking versus His silence and/or actions.

The Beatitudes inform us that we will mourn; we will hunger and thirst for righteousness, be persecuted and insulted.  But our faithfulness promises the Kingdom of heaven, comfort, inheritance, satisfaction, mercy, and the privilege of being called children of God. 

The "poor in spirit" are the lowly in adversity that humbly place their trust in God; and therefore the Kingdom of heaven awaits them.  Mourning in the ancient texts seems to imply mourning without complaint.  This is a supreme challenge for us.  An example of this is displayed to the extreme as our Blessed Mother watches her Son die on the Cross.  "Meek" seems to have a similar meaning to "poor in spirit" but focuses on placing our adversity in the Lap of God more than the actual adversity itself.  The meek inheriting the land reiterates what is written in the Psalms: "The meek shall inherit the land and shall delight in abundance of peace" (Psalm 36 [37]:11).  The "land" is the land of Promise and/or the Kingdom of heaven.  The promised comfort for mourning will far exceed the suffering and any joy experienced in this life.  Our Lord speaks of this when He says: "Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy" (John 16:20).  Hungering and thirsting for righteousness speaks of a longing for the prevalence of God's ways.  Mercy, of course, is our willingness to forgive others which promises God's mercy; and His mercy far surpasses humanity's forgiveness.  The "clean of heart" is defined in Scripture as those who are not devoted to idols or have not taken their soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to others (cf. Psalm 23 [24]:4).  Idols are anything or anyone inhibiting our relationship with our Lord.  And for pushing aside all obstacles, we are promised that we will see God.  The peacemakers are those who possess inner peace and make efforts to share and spread that peace to a tumultuous world.  The martyrs of our faith were certainly no strangers to persecution and insults because of their faith in Christ; it is the reason for their martyrdom.  But they all now share in Christ's promise of a great reward in heaven. 

It's interesting to contrast the ways of God with the way humanity sees things.  The sufferings laid out for us in this Gospel, by human standards are all negatives in this sojourn of life; but Christ declares blessed all the victims of these sufferings.  And for this reason our faith and trust in God must exceed what we perceive as common sense.  Our lives need not be bogged down by our situation - but instead lifted up because of our trust in revelation.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 22, 2017

First Reading Commentary
This Reading prophesies a day when the Messiah shall be a shining Light, a Joy that abounds; a God-Man Who shall rule with justice and peace, and bring an end to oppression.  This prophecy is very much a part of this weekend’s Gospel. 

Formerly and latterly are the two distinctions to keep in mind from this Reading.  Formerly there was degradation; latterly there is glorification.  Formerly there was anguish, darkness and gloom; latterly there is light, abundant joy and great rejoicing.  And, of course, it is the Messiah Who is the cause of Light, Joy, Rejoicing and Glory. 

The District of the Gentiles is northwestern Galilee which was inhabited by pagans; and Galilee is where Jesus began His Ministry.  Nazareth was in Zebulon and Naphtali was east of Zebulon along the Jordan River.  The seaward road was the trade route from Damascus to the Mediterranean which passed through Galilee.  It is, therefore, Galilee’s glorification that is prophesied in the opening verse.  The day of Midian deals with the defeat of Midian found in the Book of Judges.  The full story is too lengthy to highlight here but if you’re interested you’ll find it in chapters seven, eight and nine. 

Our own lives are full of former and latter occurrences: Sadness and joy, disappointments and accomplishments, sickness and health.  The emotional and physical roller coaster, however, is temporary.  There will come a day when those temporary let downs will cease forever; while the upbeats, although temporary now, will become eternal and inexplicably magnified.  Our current journey requires patient endurance, praise and faithfulness to our Lord.  

Second Reading Commentary
This could easily be the Scripture passage selected to open the proceedings of a Christian ecumenical dialogue.  Yes, indeed there are divisions among us: “I belong to the Catholics,” or “I belong to the Eastern Orthodox,” or “I belong to the Lutherans,” or “I belong to the Anglicans,” etc., etc., etc.  As evidenced in this Reading and from what we know today, obviously there’s nothing new under the sun.  Realistically, there will always be doctrinal differences that Christian faiths will likely never be able to get past or overlook.  But let us not forget what the most important line in this Reading is: “I belong to Christ.”  And let us pray that Christians never overlook that comforting and unifying fact. 

In case you’re curious, it is not known who Chloe is but obviously is known to the Corinthians.  Paul, however, doesn’t single out Chloe but instead writes, “Chloe’s people.”  Most likely he did this so that Chloe as an individual would not become a possible victim of resentment from the divided Corinthians.  Those who claim to belong to Paul are the first converts of Corinth and for that reason probably feel some sort of superiority over the converts who jumped on the Christian bandwagon later.  Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew who was a convert to Christianity and who also converted many in Corinth after Paul’s departure.  Cephas is Saint Peter and those who claim to belong to him most assuredly felt righteous about their decision because Peter, as we all know, was head of the Church. 

It is not factually known but many scholars have concluded that Peter paid a visit to Corinth shortly before this letter from Saint Paul.  There’s really no evidence to suggest that any faction in Corinth claimed to specifically belong to Christ.  Paul probably mentions it in this letter as a subtle hint to these rivals that Christ is the true Center of their faith. 

Paul writes that Christ did not send him to baptize.  This doesn’t mean that he never baptized anyone; nor is he in anyway attempting to de-emphasize baptism.  Baptism was a common ministerial function of all the apostles.  What Paul is expressing here is that Christ made him an apostle specifically to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.  Saint Paul was guided by the Spirit in his writings as well as in his preaching and did not rely on his own human wisdom or intelligence so that the Cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.  The Latin translates as: “lest the Cross of Christ should be made void.”  In other words, never credit anyone’s conversion to human wisdom and know-how; but only to the incomparable Power of God and Christ crucified.

Gospel Commentary
Saint Matthew begins here by letting his readers know that when Jesus heard John the Baptist had been arrested He withdrew to Galilee.  John was now finished with what he was called to do and now it’s time for Jesus to take over.  The red carpet has been rolled out and humanity now fervently waits for the Ministry of the King of kings.  Saint John Chrysostom, understanding the fulfillment of prophecy here, writes: “Jesus Christ enters more publicly on His mission, and about to occupy the place of His precursor, He chooses Galilee for the first theatre of His ministry, the place assigned by the ancient prophets.”  ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’ was actually the proper name used in the time of Christ because it was a non-Jewish section of Galilee. 

Notice that Jesus uses the very same words which were exhorted by Saint John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He may have said this as a comfort for the followers of John who likely had lost hope after his arrest.  But Jesus is an assurance to them that the work of the Kingdom goes on because everything John foretold is about to be manifested.  Saint Jerome tells us that Christ will not only set out to prove that His ministry is heaven sent, but He will also humble the pride of man; and it is for this reason that He chooses fishermen instead of orators and philosophers. 

Ancient enemies of Christianity claimed that Christ chose simple, uneducated men to be His apostles because uneducated men could easily be deceived.  But as Saint Paul has pointed out, God chose the weak of this world to confound the strong (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:27).  That is not to say that human wisdom and intelligence is evil.  Certainly Saint John Paul II, for example, was extremely intelligent by human standards: he was well-read, educated and fluently spoke several languages.  But surely no one can deny that this man’s level of humility afforded him a great deal of heavenly wisdom as well. 

The battle is between “Pride” and “Humility”.  Pride is an attaboy or attagirl, pat yourself on the back arrogance that credits only you for your achievements.  Humility understands and embraces the fact that all forms of wisdom and intelligence are gifts from God; or as Christ said: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

It may seem a bit strange or unusual to most readers that the first four called by Jesus to apostleship were immediately obedient and dropped everything.  You might be inclined to credit it to some sort of divine stare and certainly that’s a possibility; but if you read Saint John’s Gospel (1:35-42) it seems that Peter, Andrew and John were already familiar with Jesus. 

The closing verse is a summation of Christ’s Ministry in Galilee but in addition to that it is likely intended to create anticipatory emotions leaving us longing for a more detailed account of Christ’s miracles and teachings, in which Saint Matthew will gladly oblige throughout his Gospel.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 15, 2017

First Reading Commentary
The name "Israel" is used three times in this Reading but the only way to make any sense of this passage is to understand that the first Israel has a different meaning than the remaining two.  The first Israel, described here as a servant through whom the Lord will show His glory, clearly is a prophecy about the Messiah.  The remaining two speak of the nation of Israel.  Most likely the author used the name "Israel" to prophesy the coming of the Messiah because it is through the nation of Israel that He would come. 

God's initial plan for the servant is to bring back Jacob to Him and have the nation of Israel gathered to Him.  The mission here, then, is a spiritual one.  There does, however, seem to be a political mission as well which is to restore Israel's exiles.  But as we know, Christ did not come for political reasons and perhaps that is prophesied here when the Lord says that the political mission is too little for the servant.  God clearly calls His servant to be a light to all nations so that His salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. 

Christ extended that mission to all His disciples when He said: "Teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19).  With these words, then, we not only see Christ as the Messiah but also ourselves as the Body of Christ included in God's plan of salvation and co-fulfillers of the Messianic prophecy.  It is, of course, our Lord's love for us that compelled Him to include us in such an intimate way.

Second Reading Commentary
Saint Paul had previously preached to the Corinthians and spent a great deal of time with them but after his departure several divisions began to form among the people of Corinth.  Many emotional wounds were inflicted on the population because of these divisions.  This letter from Paul was an effort on his part to heal those wounds. 

There are a few opinions as to who Sosthenes is, but the most accepted thought is that he was a great sufferer for the faith in Corinth; and Saint Paul mentions him here to highlight him as a model to follow.  If this opinion is correct, it should be noted that this particular man named Sosthenes of Corinth was once a staunch enemy of Paul and must have had a conversion experience.  Other conjectures are that he is the same Sosthenes who was beaten before the tribunal in Gallio (cf. Acts 18:17); or that possibly he was Paul's secretary. 

In this letter Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are called to unity but that Corinth is not being singled out; this unity of the faith is intended for all those everywhere who call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

This Reading closes with a familiar greeting from Saint Paul: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of its familiarity it would be easy to pass over this greeting quickly without giving it much consideration but think about how floored you would be if someone said it to you; or consider how much courage it takes for you to say it to someone you've just met.

Gospel Commentary
Saint John the Baptist, as the prophesied precursor, was given the graces to fulfill that office; and now in this Gospel passage he reveals what he knows: First, Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  Secondly, even though Jesus was born after John, He existed before John and ranks ahead of John.  Thirdly, John proclaims that he saw the Spirit descend from heaven and remain on Jesus.  Fourthly, Jesus is the One Who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  And finally, like a good mystery novel, John the Baptist saves the real jaw dropper for last: Jesus is the Son of God. 

A lamb symbolizes innocence but it cannot be easily determined if John is identifying Jesus as a Victim when he proclaims Christ as the Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world.  Today, all of us without hesitation could read Victimization into John's statement because we know the fullness of the Jesus story; and that being a Victim was necessary to take away the sin of the world. 

In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah a cruel destiny is alluded to with the words, "Like a lamb led to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7); but whether John the Baptist had this in mind is uncertain. 

Even though Jesus was born after John, Christ is depicted as existing before John which identifies Jesus as God and Man although the hearers of John's proclamation probably didn't make that connection.  When John says, "I did not know Him" most likely he means by physical visualization since John spent about twenty years of his life in the wilderness.  John knew Christ was of Divine Origin even before the appearance of the Holy Spirit as a Dove because when Christ came to be baptized, John said to Him: "I ought to be baptized by You" (Matthew 3:14). 

The Church calls us today to evangelize, to prepare the way for Christ's return.  No one in the Church is excused from this mission.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Epiphany of the Lord - January 8, 2017

First Reading Commentary
There are images here such as darkness covering the earth and the appearance of light which take us back all the way to the creation story in the Book of Genesis.  Keeping the creation story in mind, Scripture tells us that the earth was void and empty and darkness was upon the face of the deep (cf. Genesis 1:2).  Void, emptiness and darkness are descriptions that can be symbolic of sin.  And Scripture reveals next that the Spirit of God moved over the waters (cf. Genesis 1:2).  The Virgin Mary also had the Spirit move over her and when God said: "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3), the greatest Light of all was now conceived in the Blessed Virgin Mary.  And why?  To be the Occupant for that void, the Filler for that emptiness, and the Beacon for that darkness which formerly plagued humanity.  In Genesis, God saw that the light was good (cf. Genesis 1:4).  To say that the Light conceived in Mary is good would be an understatement.  In Genesis, God divided the darkness from the light (cf. Genesis 1:4).  That division of light and darkness literally, prophetically and symbolically has forever remained in tact. 

The light prophesied here in this Reading from Isaiah comes clothed with the glory of the Lord.  The opening verse reads: "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!"  Actually, "Jerusalem" is not included in the Hebrew text or Saint Jerome's Vulgate but is found in the Septuagint.  It could be assumed that Isaiah is referring to Jerusalem or Zion as he probably sees it as the center of religious knowledge and salvation. 

Nations, which means Gentile nations, will recognize the religious leadership of Jerusalem and shall come bearing gifts.  It is upon Jerusalem that the glory of the Lord shines while the thick clouds which cover the peoples probably is a reference to Babylon. 

Prophetically, Jerusalem is the Church to which all nations shall come because the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ shines upon her and through her comes the Light of Truth.  Traditionally, three kings traveled on camels bearing gold and frankincense, as mentioned in this Reading, as well as myrrh which is not included here.  They came to see the Light and proclaim the praises of the Lord.

Second Reading Commentary
"You have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit."  What Saint Paul is conveying here is that the Ephesians have surely heard by now that by the grace of God, Paul has been made their apostle.  The mystery he mentions is the divine plan in which Jews and Gentiles are to be united into one faith.  Paul states that he received this information by revelation which most certainly means Jesus Christ.  What is revealed in this revelation is the redemption of humanity by Jesus Christ, the vocation of the Gentiles and the command to proclaim the Gospel to them. 

Both Saint Jerome and Saint John Chrysostom suggest that this mystery was not entirely unknown to previous generations as surely many of the Old Testament prophets understood God's future plans.  But now this mystery has been revealed to the apostles who in turn have proclaimed it to everyone they came into contact with.  The revealed mystery of Gentiles being equal partners in God's gift of salvation was a scandal and the cause of many of the persecutions of early Christianity.  Today, we continue to pray for this oneness.  Although hopeful things are occurring as a result of ecumenical dialogues, there is still a long way to go.

Gospel Commentary
Saint Jerome tells us that this city is called Bethlehem of Judea, to distinguish it from another Bethlehem, which was situated in the division of the tribe of Zebulon. 

Both the Latin and Greek text signify the "Magi" as wise philosophers and astronomers.  They came from the east; some say Arabia, others from Chaldea, and yet others from Persia.  Many interpreters speak of them as if they were kings, princes, or lords of small territories.  Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, however, may confirm their Arabian origin because Arabia was renowned for these items. The number of these wise men is uncertain.  Pope Saint Leo the Great, in his sermons on the Epiphany, speaks of them as if there were three, perhaps on account of their three-fold offering (gold, frankincense and myrrh). 

There are also different opinions as to the time that the star appeared to the Magi, whether before Christ's birth, or about the very time He was born, which seems more likely.  The Wise Men found Jesus at Bethlehem, where His Blessed Mother was to remain forty days, until the time of her Purification was expired.  And it seems more logical that the Wise Men came to Bethlehem about that time, rather than within thirteen days after Christ's birth; for if they had come so soon after Christ was born, and been directed to go and make diligent inquiry at Bethlehem, it's hard to fathom that so suspicious and jealous a ruler as Herod was, would have waited almost a month for their return without searching for the newborn King.  But it is likely that being alarmed by what happened when Jesus was presented in the temple at His Mother's Purification, he then gave those barbaric orders for the massacre of the innocent infants. 

"We saw His star"; they knew it to be His star, either by some prophecy among them, or by divine revelation.  It is not known for certain whether it guided them during the whole course of their journey from the east to Jerusalem.  The Magi may have recalled the prophecy of Balaam, which had announced the coming of the Messiah by the emblem of a star (cf. Numbers 24:17), which was to arise from Jacob. 

"When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled" most certainly through fear of losing his kingdom, which he had obtained by violence.  But why was all of Jerusalem alarmed at the news of a King so long and so fervently expected?  Probably because the people, well acquainted with the cruelty of Herod, feared a more afflictive slavery. 

"And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah" was a clear prophecy concerning the Messiah, foretold by the prophet Micah (5:1). 

"And on entering the house" are words in which several of the Church Fathers in their homilies, represent the Wise Men adoring Jesus in the stable, and in the manger; yet others, with Saint John Chrysostom explain, that before their arrival, Jesus may have been moved into some small house in Bethlehem. 

"Gold, frankincense, and myrrh" are gifts in which the ancient Fathers take notice of their mystical meaning.  Gold was signified by their tribute they paid to Him as their King; by incense, because He is God; and by myrrh, (with which dead bodies used to be embalmed) because He has also become Man. 

"And did Him homage" which can be translated to mean - they adored Him; therefore, in the Eucharist also, Christ is to be adored.  It is of no consequence under what appearance He offers Himself to us, whether that of a perfect Man, a speechless Child as in this Gospel, or under the appearance of Bread and Wine; for in whatever manner or place our Lord appears, He is true God, and for that alone He is to be adored.  For certain the Magi have left us an example to imitate.  We see Jesus today, not as the magi did, in a crib, but on the altar; not His Mother holding Him, but the priest in Persona Christi, and the Holy Spirit poured out abundantly upon the Sacrifice.