By the ninth century, tradition named the Magi as Melchoir, Caspar, & Balthasar and described their physical features in order to speak of Christ’s coming for all nations and people. Furthermore, in his recent book, Jesus of Nazareth, the Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI proposes that the three Magi represent the three stages of life: youth, maturity, and old age. We meet Christ at all these stages.
How do we understand these Magi that adored the babe of Bethlehem? Pope Benedict XVI describes them as members of the Persian Priestly caste or rulers of a distinctive religion. On the other hand, they could be possessors and users of supernatural knowledge and ability, magicians, deceivers, and seducers. The scriptures give us these two extremes of the Magi found both in today’s gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.
Today, we hear of the Magi being those who seek truth and wisdom. They were astronomers that were searching for the deepest meaning of religion that would move them to an inner change and towards a real and authentic encounter with the one true God. The star was their hope, but they would not have set out on this journey to find the newborn king unless they knew for sure that he would change their lives forever.
Let this epiphanic season move us to find the deepest meaning of our lives, Christ. The cosmos yield to his command in order that we may find Him. Dare we bring the gift of our lives to him and his mother and earthly father. In such an encounter, our lives are forever changed.