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Advent Calendar 2004

December 21

Journey and Adoration of the Magi, by Gentile da Fabriano
Article by Joseph Phelan
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Gentile da Fabriano: Journey and Adoration of the Magi (detail) During the course of this Advent Calender it may seem as though I have neglected St. Matthew's Gospel in favor of Luke's. But in the story of the Magi from the East, Matthew comes into his own.

Matthew tells us about these wise men from the East: philosophers, princes, rich and powerful pagans, who have the leisure and the desire to study the heavens (astronomy to them; idolatry to the Jews). They have been tracking the great star which appears over Judea during the period of the nativity. They travel to Jerusalem, seeking help from the ruler of that place - our old friend, Herod. After consulting with his chief scribes and priests, Herod secretly sends them to Bethlehem. He asks them to return with a report so that he might worship the child. Herod's nefarious intention to murder the baby is checked by an angel who tells the wise men not to return to Herod's court.


This article is copyright 2002-04 by Joseph Phelan. Please do not republish any portion of this article without written permission.


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