Saint John of the Cross

Priest and Doctor of the Church

“I see him, though not now; I observe him, though not near: a star shall advance from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, that will crush the brows of Moab, and the skull of all the Sethites...” (Numbers 24:17.)

Pope Saint Leo the Great comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Although it was a gift of divine favor that the birth of the Savior should become recognizable to the nations, nevertheless, to understand the wonder of the sign, the wise men were also able to be reminded through the ancient pronouncements of Balaam, for they knew that it had at one time been spread abroad in a famous and memorable prediction: “A star will appear out of Jacob, and a man will rise up from Israel. He will rule over the nations.” So the three men, stirred by God through the shining of this unusual star, follow the course of its gleaming light ahead of them, thinking that they would find the indicated child in the royal city of Jerusalem.

When this conjecture had failed them, however, they learned from scribes and teachers of the Jews what the sacred Scriptures had told about the birth of Christ. Encouraged by the double evidence, they sought him out with an even more ardent faith, the one to whom both the brightness of the star and the authority of prophets pointed.” (Sermon 34)

O God,
Who gave the Priest Saint John
an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial
and love of the Cross,
grant that, by imitating him closely at all times,
we may come to contemplate eternally Your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen