On Day 21 of our “Christmas Goodies,” we shall reflect on “The Magi”
WHAT IT IS?
The Gospel of St Matthew records the visit of the Magi from the East to meet Baby Jesus.
They offered their gifts to the New Born Babe – “gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Mt 2:11)
WHAT ELEMENTS CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS CHRISTMAS GOODIE – “THE MAGI?”
- The Magi had the sole purpose to “meet the New Born King and pay Him homage”
The Magi sought for the “New Born King” to pay Him homage (Mt 2:2)
The Magi traversed a lot of distance; the Magi transgressed a lot of hostile situations – all this was because they had a single focus and purpose: seeking Christ and paying Him homage.
It is very important what is our focus and purpose in this festive season; else, Christmas turns out to be just another external show of fun and frolic, without really touching one’s heart
- The Magi were wise people, who sought the Lord of all Wisdom!
“Magos” is the Greek word for the wise men or the “Magi”
“Magos” can have several meanings:
• a member of the priestly class of ancient Persia, where there was prominence of astrology and astronomy
• one who was known to have mystical powers and be able to interpret dreams.
• a magician
• an imposter or a fraud, who cheated people, using the practices of divination etc
The Magi, who visited Jesus, were probably priest-astrologers from the East (probably from Persian) – brilliant and highly-educated scholars. Astronomy and astrology had an important role in their society, and probably the Magi were political advisors to the Persian kings i.e. they were kingmakers.
These wise men, with all their knowledge, were able “to see more” in a Star – they sensed Divinity in it. And so they made their way to seek the Lord of all Wisdom.
True wisdom discovers the glory of God in all things. Therefore, docility or an “openness to the Truth” is highly essential in life. As Fulton Sheen says, “Only the teachable find the Teacher, only the docile find the Doctor, only the humble find the Exalted”
- The Magi extremely humbled themselves in order to pay homage to the Creator of the World, Who had humbled the most
The Magi were great people in their own land.
Being experts in science and religion, they held a position of esteem: kings consulted before they went to war and peasants before they tilled the land
Jesus was great in His glory.
Yet, in the encounter of the Magi and the Divine Babe, we see the wonderful saga of humility: Christ descending from the heights of glory and becoming a vulnerable Babe; The Magi lowering themselves from their position of greatness and falling on their knees, in worship of the Lord of the Universe!
- The gifts of the Magi was very significant
The Magi offered three gifts: “… gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Mt 2:11c)
• Gold: A precious metal which does not rust or fade, it symbolized royalty and majesty. Gold signified Christ, the King whose reign would last.
• Frankincense: A white resin or a gum, obtained from a tree, by making marks in the bark and allowing the gum to flow. It is highly fragrant when burnt, and hence was used for worship. It was symbolic of holiness and sacrifice: Frankincense signified Christ, the Divine, who would sacrifice His life, and the Priest, who would offer the sacrifice.
• Myrrh: A product of Arabia, it was a kind of perfume, made from the leaves of a cistus rose. It was used in beauty treatments and also used to anoint the body and prepare it for burial. It was also sometimes, mingled with wine, to form a stupefying drink – as given to our Saviour on the Cross (Mt 27:34). Myrrh, signified Christ, the Human, who was prophesied to suffer the bitterness of sin.
- The worship of the Magi is a reminder of the need to worship, adore and love the Holy Eucharist
The Magi, “on entering the house, saw the Child with Mary, His Mother. They prostrated themselves and did homage” (Mt 2: 11). They were pagans; yet, their openness and realisation of the Truth, caused them to render the highest worship to the Divine Babe.
The Holy Eucharist is the real and living presence of Christ on earth. Do we realise the power and awesomeness of the Real Presence in this “self-gifting Sacrament”?
The worship of the Magi is a powerful message and a challenge to us who are privileged to receive and adore the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
- The Magi teaches the power of obedience
The Magi followed the star (Mt 2:2) in their pursuit for Jesus, the King.
Perhaps, their human calculations and reasons, caused them to think that the King would be born in a palace, and so they halted at King Herod’s palace.
But, when they followed the star faithfully, they reached the One they sought for.
Obedience is a sacrificial virtue of Christian life that needs utmost attention. Human calculations and worldly reasoning might be opposing; yet, there is absolute surety of peace and joy, when we faithfully follow the Will of God in our lives – when discerned in prayer and in the Holy Spirit.
WHAT RESOLUTIONS CAN I PRACTISE TODAY?
Today I will seek to single-mindedly have my life’s goal centred on Jesus, and humble myself in honesty, being faithfully obedient to His Will
Today I will make my life a gift to the other – in any small or little way even – and realise that God’s power can cause “anything or anyone” to lead people towards Him
Lord, inspired by the Magi, let me always have a deep desire to have an experience of Your Presence and may I always remain focussed on You, Amen!
MARANATHA – COME, LORD JESUS!
We welcome you into our hearts! God Bless!