Before there were global positioning satellites, people had only the stars to guide them to their destinations. Especially through deserts with no landmarks, they learned to rely on the position of the heavenly lights to lead them.
The magi in today’s gospel were men who dedicated their lives to studying the stars. They hoped that by understanding the sky and the movement of the heavenly bodies they would be able to know what the future would hold.
We do not know what discoveries they may have made or if they were able to really predict the future through their science. However, we do know about that their most important discovery - the star announcing the birth of the Christ child.
These brilliant men could have been satisfied with their discovery. They could have congratulated each other for finding the star and then gone on to explore other parts of the sky. However, there was a deeper hunger rumbling within them than the hunger for knowledge. They wanted to not only announce the birth of this child. They wanted to meet Him. They wanted to see Him for themselves. They wanted to bring Him gifts. They desired not only to know about Him but to know Him personally and intimately. It was for this reason that they made the costly and dangerous decision to follow the star.
In today’s world we do not need to follow stars to know where we are going or look up into the sky to tell what the weather will be like. We have maps, GPS’s, cellphones and weather stations to help us. But is it not true that with all our technology, we are more lost than ever? Everything is possible for us, but we do not know what we should do or where we should go? We have so many choices we can make but no idea what or how we should choose. We can feel paralyzed by all the information that is at our fingertips.
Though technology has changed throughout the years, though science offers different explanations for the phenomena we experience, the destination that all of us are called to remains the same. We are called to seek out Jesus. He is the hunger that drove the wise men to leave their comfortable palaces, journey across the desert and go to the humble city of Bethlehem. He is the reason so many people have dedicated their lives to serving others. He is the reason so many people through the centuries have faced death to preach the good news. Jesus is the desire of every human heart. Nothing that this world offers can satisfy the craving within us for His love. Until we understand that each of us is called to seek Him out, then we will wander around lost.
We seek Jesus. However, unlike the wise men who had to travel many miles to find Him, we have Him close at hand. All we need to do is sit silently and ask Him to come into our lives. By reading the Bible for a few minutes every day, we can hear Him speaking to us. Every Sunday - indeed every day - we can receive His Body and Blood so that His very life can flow through us. And we can find Him in the poor and needy whenever we relieve their hunger or comfort them in their sorrow. All these are the stars in today’s world leading us to the Christ child. We do not have to wander about lost in this chaotic world. The Light of the World, Jesus Christ, can be found anywhere and everywhere if we open our eyes in faith to the signs of His presence.
Today’s beautiful feast also teaches us that everyone is meant to have a relationship with Jesus. If you were created by God, then you are called by Him to know, love and serve Jesus. Jesus died to save all people, without distinction. And so, our Heavenly Father wants all people no matter their religion, their race, their education or their social status to know His love made visible in the person of Jesus Christ.
That is where we come in. We who have accepted Jesus into our hearts must now witness to others about His saving power. We must be the star leading others to Jesus. It might not always be by our eloquent words. Perhaps it will be more by our example. Whatever the case may be, we must never fail to give witness to God’s love. There are too many people lost in today’s world for us to keep our faith to ourselves. Just as we would give food to a starving person, we must give our witness of faith to those whose souls are famished for God. We may be the only means that someone has of hearing the good news. How could we refuse to let our light shine with the love and joy of God’s Spirit?
In today’s world, when we look up at the night sky, we often cannot see the stars because of all the artificial light coming from our homes and businesses. Just so, often the good news of Jesus’ love can be drowned out by all the noise in our lives. We can be so blinded by the bright lights of the world that we lose sight of the true Light that enlightens all men and women - Jesus Christ. By seeking Him out daily and striving to know Him, we can ensure that we will not wander about lost. By witnessing to Him to others, we can be assured that when He comes again in glory, we will stand with Him in the Father’s presence forever praising the goodness of our God.