AN UPSETTING STORY
Concerning Jesus, you can adopt very different attitudes. The story of the Magi speaks to us of the reaction of three different groups of persons. Some pagans who seek him, guided by the small light of a star. The representatives of the Temple religion who remain indifferent. The powerful King Herod who only sees a danger in him.
The Magi don’t belong to the chosen people. They don’t know the living God of Israel. We don’t know anything of their religion or of their people of origin. Only that they live attentive to the mystery that encloses the cosmos. Their hearts seek truth.
At some point they believe they see a small light that points toward a Savior. They need to know who and where he is. They quickly set out on a journey. They don’t know the precise route they need to follow, but deep within burns the hope of meeting a Light for the world.
Their arrival at the holy city of Jerusalem provokes a general shock. Called together by Herod, the great Council of «the chief priests and the scribes of the people» meets. Their action is deceiving. They’re the guardians of the true religion, but they don’t seek the truth. They represent the God of the Temple, but live deaf to God’s call.
Their religious security blinds them. They know where the Messiah should be born, but not one of them will draw near to Bethlehem. They are dedicated to give God worship, but don’t suspect that God’s Mystery is greater than all religions, and that this Mystery has paths to meet with God’s sons and daughters. They never will recognize Jesus.
The King Herod, powerful and brutal, only sees in Jesus a threat to his power and his cruelty. He will do everything possible to get rid of him. From his oppressive power he can only «crucify» the one who brings freedom.
Meanwhile, the Magi keep seeking. They don’t fall to their knees before Herod: they find in him nothing worthy of adoration. They don’t enter the grand Temple of Jerusalem: they’d be forbidden to do so. The small light of the star attracts them toward the small village of Bethlehem, far from every center of power.
When they get there, they only see «the child with his mother Mary». Nothing more. A child without splendor or any power at all. A fragile life that needs the care of a mother. That’s enough to awaken adoration in the Magi.
The story is upsetting. This God, hidden in human fragility, isn’t met by those who live situated in power or enclosed in religious security. This God is revealed to those who are guided by small lights, who incessantly seek a hope for humanity in the tenderness and the poverty of life.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf