Message from Fr Gary December 2016

Who are the Magi and what can we offer our Infant Savior?


Magi is the plural form of the word “Magus.” What, then, is a Magus? In Webster’s Third New International Dictionary the following two definitions are given: 1) a member of a hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians whose doctrines include a belief in astrology; one of the traditionally three wise men from the East who according to the Gospel of Matthew paid homage to the infant Jesus 2) an adept in occult arts: magician, sorcerer.

At first glance a faithful Christian may be disturbed with the description of the Magi as “sorcerers or magicians.” This seems to be a conflicting message. By today’s standards a person amused by sorcery and magic does not fit the definition of a Christian. Since as putting your hope and trust in anything other than Christ leaves little room to follow His instruction. Giving credence to such belief closes the door on the Christian values.

The other definitions of the Magi seem to fit our understanding of the Nativity of Christ. The Magi were priests, they are mentioned in the Gospel of St. Matthew, and they had a good understanding of astrology. Why does St. Matthew mention the wise men in his description of the birth of Jesus?

Christ’s entrance into this world and His human nature are all foretold by the Prophets. Jesus Christ fulfills the will of God and all the scripture from the Law and the Prophets. A star is revealed to the Magi, who live in the east, inspiring them to seek out the Christ child. When they approach King Herod with their desire to see the Infant King, they remind Herod of the writings of the Prophet Micah who exclaimed, “But you, O Bethlehem . . . from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.” Herod then sends them out to find the baby Jesus.

Matthew’s mention of the actions of the Magi be-comes clearer when we focus on their conduct as they encounter the “place where the child was.” “They fell down and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)” Three of the wisest men in all of Judea knelt before an infant! An infant who had no words of wisdom to share, they knelt before him, gave praise, and offered gifts. St. Mat-thews mention of the Magi is an exhibition in humility. A great sign was revealed to these intelligent priests, and through faith, they sought after the Savior offering their treasure. They abandoned the superstitions of their forefathers and find new life in Christ!

What are gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and what is their significance? Frankincense was a very valuable commodity in ancient times. It is an incense taken from the gum resin of east African or Arabian trees. Myrrh is a yellow to reddish brown aromatic bitter gum resin that is also obtained from trees found in east Africa or Arabic countries. In ancient times people used myrrh as the chief ingredient for a sweet smelling perfume and a remedy for a local application. Gold represents extreme value, and is one of the most desirable minerals of all time.

The hymns chanted on the feast day of the Nativity make very few references to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. They mainly concentrate on Christ, the Word of God, “the Logos,” taking on flesh and entering the world in human form. The gifts of the Magi are mentioned in hymns chanted on the day after Christmas. In those hymns the gifts make reference to the three days Christ spends in the tomb. Gold, the most celebrated earthly possession, rising to heaven with the two, very valuable, forms of incense (frankincense and myrrh).

What can we offer the Infant Savior this Christ-mas? Like the Magi, let us first offer our humility by acknowledging His divinity. Let’s fall down before Him and worship Christ God. The Magi were renewed by the Birth of Jesus. When they left the cave, the birthplace of our Lord, they also left behind their former practices of sorcery and magic. They were renewed by the nativity of our Lord. Let us take the example of the three wise men and leave behind our evil ways. Lets abandon our attachment to the devices of this world and seek out the peace of God.

Lets renew ourselves with the Birth of our Lord!

Christ is born.
Glorify Him!

In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Gary Kyriacou

Fr Gary

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Sunday Bulletin

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Four in Three


Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. We find classic lines like, “To everything there is a season,” or “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Taken as a whole, the Book of Ecclesiastes is full of wonderful wisdom. During my time at the seminary, a beloved priest professor would encourage us to read the entire book from beginning to end whenever we felt overwhelmed with the pressures of life. This tool served me well as a student, and has become a valuable tool in my ministry to Christ’s Church. A Priest witnesses all the emotions of life. You rejoice at the birth of a child and you mourn with the passing of a loved one. Ecclesiastes verbalizes this sentiment well.


In the past three weeks, I have participated in four funerals. Four beloved individuals left this world in the hope of the resurrection. Two funerals were for 30 something year old’s and two funerals were for 80 something year old’s, yet their loved ones shed the equal number of tears at each of the funerals. All four individuals left behind the same thing, a lasting memory of the relationships developed. Their grieving loved ones mourn their physical losses.


In late February, we lost Kevin, a 33 year old loving husband, father of two, son and good friend. Kevin battled stage 4 oral cancer for 16 months before leaving this life. During his last days, as he prepared to die, he taught those around him how to live! His love for baseball inspired a road trip, with his father, to San Francisco to see his beloved Giants play, and the holidays gave him the opportunity to express his love for his family and friends as they showered him with their loving sentiments. I stood, in rapt amazement, watching his beautiful young wife, with her their two year old child in her arms, sharing cherished memories. She made us laugh and she made us cry, but she reminded us that our hope as Christians is in our Lord’s Resurrection.

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