One of my earlier posts was about the Magi, but I’m giving them a repeat performance. Why? Because they offer such a necessary example for us who are seekers today.
Matthew’s Gospel describes men of faith who are in search of truth. They are star-gazers, men learned in the study of the physical heavens. They were obviously familiar with Jewish prophecy for they knew where the Messiah-King was to be expected. It seems that their inquiry with King Herod took him by surprise (probably not a very religious man) and he had to call in his own scholars (also not too religious, it would seem). The Gospel reads as if they had the appropriate scripture at hand (in the library perhaps), but aren’t aware of the star (inattentive). Herod tries to play nice, promising to go adore the new king as soon as his visitors returned with a location. He didn’t offer to accompany them or to send anyone with them, but must have put a tail on them because, even though they didn’t report back to him, his soldiers were sent to kill all young boys in Bethlehem. Actually, the prophecy pinpointed Bethlehem, but I don’t doubt that Herod had spies.
As for the Wise Men, the star brought them straight to the “house” where Jesus was to be found. Interestingly, we now hear of the child and a house, so probably some time had passed since the night in the stable. These truly wise seekers prostrated themselves before the child and did him homage. Imagine his parents astonishment that such persons are aware of Jesus’ existence and have sought him out. They offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh – prophetic gifts we are told. Then because of a dream (whose we don’t know), they quietly return home.
I ask myself how aware I am of the signs of my time – this present time we all live in? Where is Christ to be found in all of it? Am I a Herod, reigning in my own little kingdom oblivious to the greater plan? Am I wrapped up in my own version of truth, considering my opinions, wants, and desires to be the definition of that truth? Am I instead a true seeker? Am I one of those wise persons, ever alert and attuned to earth and heaven, ready and willing to put myself out in order to pursue the meaning and purpose of what is revealed? When I come into the presence of God’s plan, what gift am I prepared to offer?