The Epiphany which celebrates the visit of the Wise Men (or Magi) is a well- known story to most of us but at its heart is a mystery which offers inspiration for the new year.
What is fascinating is that these men, from the East, set out to worship the child Jesus as the Son of God. They were men with restless hearts who set out towards the unknown, driven by a desire for God and the Salvation of the world. They were not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society but wanted something greater. They clearly had considerable knowledge about many things but they still hadn’t found what they were looking for, they were still in search of the truth about themselves, about God and about the world. As they said to King Herod Matthew 2:2):
“Where is the infant king of the Jews?.. We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.”(CTS New Catholic Bible)
For us it is a reminder we are all on an inner pilgrimage to draw closer all the time to Christ. Over the Christmas period we have been reminded of the joy of the birth of Christ but it is only in seeking and drawing closer to Christ in our hearts and lives that it helps us to make sense of God, the world and our place in it.
This story also shows us the Wise Men were men of courage which came out of their faith. They saw the meaning of the star but then had to go on what would have been a perilous journey. They probably risked everything and maybe were mocked by those around them but their journey to God was more important so they followed the star and came to Jesus the light of the world who offered salvation for Jew and Gentile alike.
Pope Benedict wrote:
“As pilgrims of faith, the Wise men themselves became stars shining in the firmament of history, and they show us the way.”
But as the light shines in us then we too become a light for others. So take a moment to dwell on the light of the nativity, the light of Christ, the light of the Wise men and the light within our own hearts.