Today we celebrate not only the revelation that the helpless infant in Bethlehem is the king of history but also that the birth of Jesus is good news for everyone.

Though we might find the arrival of the magi fascinating, Matthew’s first readers would have had a different reaction: These folks arriving on camel were clearly interlopers, foreigners whom good people shouldn’t welcome.

The visit of the magi challenged Matthew’s first readers and challenge us to recognize that the saving word of God, the good news, is not reserved for some, but is intended for all. Not just for “people like us” but for “them” as well. Not only for those who believe just as we do, but also for those who don’t. It’s a challenge, yes, but a comfort, too, because we realize that even the alien parts of our own selves are welcome into the presence of the one who saves.

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.