Who were the magi from the east who came to Jerusalem and asked: “Where is the new-born King of the Jews?” Confusion, fear and the nervousness were evident in the reply they received. King Herod and the whole of Jerusalem were troubled, according to the Gospel. But so far as the Magi are concerned the fact remains: “We have seen his star in its rising and we have come to worship him.”
Men on the Search
The Magi not only observed the signs of the time but also drew conclusions from them. Whoever they may be, God touched these “wise men from the east.” They readily responded to God’s call and set out without fear though the way was unknown and dangerous. A glimpse of the Lord, and presenting of gifts to Him – that was their aim, and no hazards, however great, could stop them.
Today’s feast reminds us that Christmas is something which happened long, long ago but is not all over: its message is still alive and perennial. The light that shone that day still shines, it is never extinguished. The message of ‘great joy’ proclaimed by the angel is still a reality. It says: God has appeared (theophany) and remains with us forever as Moses foresaw: “the whole world will be full of God’s glory.” (Num 14:21).
On the Road to Life
The Gospel speaks of human problems. These can be compared to those which Abraham had to encounter (Gen 12). We will not find our happiness in our homes, in our ghettos, in our own narrow circles of family and friends. We have to go out of ourselves. Man must always be engaged in his quest till he realizes the ultimate goal: eternal life.
On the road to life we have to face many troubles and many trials. Contrary to their expectations, the Magi had to meet with problems and difficulties on their journey. They naturally looked for the ‘new-born king’ in palaces, and their disappointments began there. But far from giving up, they continued their search. Finally, they arrived at their destination: in an insignificant place, in conditions unthinkable for a king. But their faith gave them assurance and they affirmed: “Yes, here is the King, the Savior of Mankind.” Their courage and wisdom led them to the Lord.
The Gospels narrates “They bowed to the ground and adored him.” And they offered their gifts: Gold (the most noble and precious metal), frankincense (symbol of adoration, sacrifice) and myrrh (symbol of Christ’s redeeming death on the cross).
Faith is God’s gift which reveals to us His salvific plan. The Magi labored hard and persisted in their search to find the new born babe, the King of the Universe in Jerusalem, though no one else bothered about Him. They remained steadfast to the end, faithful to the light and inspiration which had awakened them. And God fulfilled their dream, and they returned with great joy, having seen God Himself.