Context: The magi are “from the East.” They are most likely men from Persia who are wise in astrology, the study of the stars. They were not Jews but they were religious in their beliefs. What’s clear, however, is that these men (traditionally considered to be three) were inspired by God to travel to this foreign land of Israel in search of a newborn King.
They first came to Jerusalem and began to inquire among the people about this Child. Their presence and questioning reached King Herod, and he questioned them. When Herod ascertained from the Jewish chief priests and scribes that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, he informed the magi and sent them forth as “scouts” for him, requesting they return to him to tell him when they find the child. Though Herod stated he wanted to go and worship this new king, his only intention was to destroy him.
Upon traveling to Bethlehem, these magi discover the Child and worship Him. They offer three gifts: gold for a king; frankincense for one Who is God; myrrh for one who would die. Then they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they left by another way, not returning to Jerusalem.
Central to this story is the fact that God spoke to these foreigners in the depths of their consciences. They listened and responded. They knew, by faith, that this Child would be a king. They did not know the Scriptures, nor were they Jewish believers awaiting the Messiah. But they knew, nonetheless, that they had to seek out this Child to do Him homage.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1–12
Reflection: Imagine the first time God spoke to these magi in the depths of their consciences. Try to think about what that initial experience was like. (Silent Reflection)
Imagine the questions they would have had, interiorly, as they considered making this journey. What compelled them to travel to a foreign land in search of a child king? (Silent Reflection)
Ponder King Herod. He heard of a newborn king and was filled with such envy that his only desire was to kill him so as to keep his earthly power. Do you see this tendency in your own life? Jealousy? Envy? Greed? Deceit? (Silent Reflection)
Imagine the magi finally arriving at the house of Mary and Joseph. Ponder the scene. Ponder each magi, our Blessed Mother’s reaction and that of Saint Joseph. (Silent Reflection)
Gold: the first gift leads us to meditate upon this infant as King.
Frankincense: for one Who is God.
Myrrh: for burial of one who has died. (Silent Reflection)
- Birth of the Savior of the World
- Humble Shepherds
- Presentation in the Temple
- Flight into Egypt, Massacre of Holy Innocents
- Hidden Life, Finding in the Temple