My experience tells us that “What you find will depend on what you are looking for”. What were the Magi looking for? It is believed that they were astrologers – hence their interest in and reading of the stars. The Magi were seeking this King of the Jews born in time. They were seeking Him for noble purposes, not to manage or market Him, but to see and know Him. He was to be a great personage, according to their studies and beliefs, and they wanted to know this “newborn King of the Jews”. They brought three significant gifts to symbolize the life that they believed this child would lead – gold to represent His majesty and glory, frankincense that spoke of the mysterious action of God, and myrrh that forebode His death. They knew what they were looking for, and the star led them miraculously to find what they were seeking.
The mysterious thing that struck me as I reflected on the readings was that the Magi did not know what form this manifestation of what they were looking for would take. That is why, seeking the King of the Jews, they went to the King of Palestine, Herod, thinking perhaps that this child would be in a royal palace and of a royal family. Yet they found Him in a simple dwelling in Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, a carpenter and his wife.
I come back to my reflection on words “What we find will depend on what we are looking for”. What are we looking for? What is the ‘star’ that we are following?
Here, in a simplistic way, we can see two stars rising, both of which may attract us. One is a star that leads us to seek power, pleasure and possessions. This is truly an ‘earthly’ star because it leads us to focus on the things of the earth, the things of this world. They are not evils, but they do not lead us to the fullness of life that God tells us awaits us. If we seek that star we may find success, happiness, and accomplishment, but at what price and for how long? That star can fall to earth quickly. Perhaps we can identify times in our own lives, or people we know who have only sought that ‘earthly’ star and that found, as a result of following that star, this was not what they really wanted in life, and out of life.
The other star is a ‘heavenly’ star set on gospel values and the will of God. This star focuses on the values and virtues of the kingdom of God. If we seek that star we find that closeness to God that comes from walking with faith and serving God. This leads to relationships that are life-giving and have eternal value. That star will never fade. Perhaps we can also identify times in our lives, or people we know who have sought that ‘heavenly’ star and what they found, as a result of following that star, was a source of great peace and joy, and – very often – surprises (graces and blessings) that the Lord has in stores for those who seek Him.
Bogdan Jański discovered the ‘star’ he was looking for – Jesus Christ. He had followed other paths, thinking that economics (which he was studying) would be the answer to the world’s needs, and then social reform (with the Saint Simionists), but these stars faded rapidly. Some intellectual Catholics in Paris led him to the ‘star’ he was looking for, and he never took his eyes off of it – Jesus Christ. This same star beckons us, to also come to Him, bearing the gift of ourselves.