Benedictine University and’s Mark Kurowski reflects on Elvis, Jesus and three men who traveled for two years on a heat laden, star driven, camel smelling tour of the Fertile Crescent to give some really great presents to a toddler in the middle east. Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the Epiphany. Please read Matt. 2:1-12.




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For Benedictine University and, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 1/8/2012The Feast of the Epiphany.

Please pause this audio and read Matthew 2:1-12.
On the Feast of Saint Nicholas, December 6, 1996, some 19 years after his death, a star along the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated at the corner of LaBrea Ave. and Hollywood Boulevard for a legend, Elvis Presley.  Not many performers have the lasting power that Elvis Presley does.  
Elvis had ten number one albums and 36 top singles in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Three of those number one singles were reissued or remixed singles that were released in 2005, some 28 years after his death. Presidents to composers of classical music to rock stars and legends of country music have all quoted him, copied him and admired him.
600,000 visitors come yearly, even in 2011, to his former mansion “Graceland” to memorialize him, especially on the date of his death, August 16th.  Elvis is truly a king of Rock ‘n Roll.  He is among many who formed and shaped Rock ‘n Roll, Rock a billy, and Country Music.  He was a “crossover artist” appealing across races before we knew what a “crossover artist” was.  Elvis was the king of Rock ‘n Roll.
We humans love to celebrate stars.  We have maps that lead us to their homes.  We have paparazzi who follow them all over trying to sneak a peek into their private lives.  We place them on a pedestal, and are in wonder when they fall off.  One of the biggest things overlooked by those who “love the stars” is that Elvis died in the bathroom, on the toilet, having overdosed on fourteen different kinds of drugs.  What a fall from grace, but we still go to see him, 600,000 of us every year!
When I think of the toddler, to whom the Wise men come, I can only think of the contrast.  In contrast to Elvis, you would think that the toddler Jesus might not match up at this point in his life.  The little guy who was toddling around the house and being held by his mother, Mary, would have hardly said a discernible word.  Yet, there were those who came to see him.  In fact, there were those who travelled thousands of miles through deserts, rough terrain, and living in tents with camels to see him.  It was not exactly a short vacation to Memphis.
What kind of a person would make a 2,000 mile, 2-year, camel trip to see a toddler?
That is exactly what I asked myself while researching this passage from Matthew’s Gospel for this Epiphany Day.  You would think that they would be Jews awaiting a Messiah, but they weren’t.  They were Gentiles, astronomers and wise men, who saw a star in the heavens.  The Greek text tells us that it was a “revealed star” that shone brightly in the sky.  It announced the birth of one who was born to save the souls of all and lead those who follow him to salvation in heaven through his death on the cross at the hands of his own creation.
In contrast to that toddler, it is Elvis who comes up short. Elvis has a star on Hollywood Blvd.; Jesus has a star in the Heavens.  Elvis has a star granted to him 22 years after his death. Jesus had a star to announce his birth in the heavens.  Elvis was the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Jesus is the King of kings. Elvis’ music soothed the soul. Jesus saves souls.  Elvis was the first artist to unite black and white. Jesus is the Savior who unites all his people.  Elvis died on the toilet in his bathroom of a drug overdose.  Jesus died on the Cross at the hands of his own creation to save us from our sins.  For 27 years, 600,000 people still flock to see Elvis’ house.  For 2,000 years billions of people flock to receive Jesus into their bodies in the Eucharist.
So, the comparison may fall off, but in hindsight, all the reasons that Jesus is greater than Elvis show that a two year, 2,000 mile, sand blown, camel smelling trip through the heat of the desert to lay presents at the feet of a toddler is worth the sacrifice for three men following a star.  (pause) It still remains, what kind men would do such a thing?
Men who were open to the movements of God would do such a thing, are you?  Men who were committed to finding the truth in God would do such a thing, are you?  Men who would sacrifice everything to follow Jesus would do such a thing, would you? Men who would offer anything and everything at the feet of God would do such a thing, would you?
Do you love Jesus?  Would you do these things?  Would you follow that Star beyond the walk of shame to the Cross?
This is the example of the wise men who came: that their lives would serve as example that would call us to do anything, go anywhere and give all we have to the King of kings and Lord of lords.  What are you going to do?  Where are you going to go? What will you give?  Amen?  Amen.
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