With Jesus you can adopt attitudes that are all over the map. The story of the wise men speaks of the reaction of three groups of people. Some pagans that seek him, guided by the small light of a star. The religious representatives of the Temple, who remain indifferent. The powerful King Herod, who only sees danger in him.
The wise men don’t belong to the chosen people. They don’t know the living God of Israel. We don’t know anything about their religion or what country they come from. Just that they are attentive to the mystery that encompasses the heavens. Their hearts seek the truth.
At one point they believe that they are seeing a small light that points toward a Savior. They need to know who he is and where he’s born. Right away they get on the road. They don’t know the exact way to go, but within them burns the hope of meeting a Light for the world.
When they get to the holy city Jerusalem, they cause a stir all around. Called by Herod, the great Council of «the high priests and the scribes of the people» meets together. Their proceedings are misleading. They are the guardians of the true religion, but they don’t seek the truth. They represent the God of the Temple, but they are deaf to God’s call.
Their religious security blinds them. They know where the Messiah is to be born, but not one of them goes over to Bethlehem. They are dedicated to worship God, but don’t suspect that God’s mystery is greater than all religions, and that God has ways of meeting all God’s sons and daughters. These former will never recognize Jesus.
The King Herod, powerful and brutal, only sees in Jesus a threat to his power and cruelty. He will do everything possible to get rid of him. From the point of view of oppressive power, all you can do is «crucify» anyone who brings liberation.
Meanwhile, the wise men keep up their search. They don’t fall on their knees before Herod: they find nothing in him worthy of adoration. They don’t go into the huge Temple in Jerusalem: they are forbidden to step foot there. The small light of the star draws them toward the small village of Bethlehem, far from the center of power.
When they get there, the only thing they see is «the child with his mother Mary». Nothing more. A child without splendor or power whatsoever. A fragile life that need the care of a mother. It’s sufficient to awaken adoration in the wise men.
The story is disturbing. This God, hidden in human frailty, isn’t found by those who live installed in power or enclosed in religious security. This God is revealed to those who are guided by small lights, who ceaselessly seek hope for human beings in the kindness and the poverty of life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf