The great Native American leader, Black Elk (1863-1950), said a very wise thing: “It is hard to follow one great vision in this world of darkness and changing shadows. Among those shadows people get lost.” Yet this is precisely what the Magi did. They set out in pursuit of a great vision and followed that vision to the end.The journey of the Magi was bold, courageous, and imaginative. However to many it must have appeared foolish, even a little crazy. It certainly was not an easy journey and no doubt they encountered difficulties among the way. Every time the star disappeared under clouds or under the light of day, they would have lost their bearings temporarily.There must have been moments when they asked themselves if they were not wasting their time. And I wonder if they didn’t question what people would think about them. Yet, in spite of the doubts, difficulties, and dangers they persevered in their quest, and were rewarded when they finally found the Christ.
Though the Magi were guided by the star, they did not know where the star would lead them. Therefore their journey was truly a journey of faith. And even when they saw the Child, they still had to make an act of faith. Seeing is not necessarily believing.
The story of the magi has great relevance for us because we too are on a journey — the journey of life. We too are following a vision, the vision Jesus set forth for living in the Kingdom of God. As the Magi were guided by the light of the star, we are guided by the light of faith. Their journey serves as a model for our journey.
However, we have one major advantage over them. We already know Christ and have encountered him in faith. Christ, the light of the world, is the star we are following. The fact that we have not seen him face to face means we have not yet arrived at our final destination. We are still searching, still traveling onwards towards our ultimate destiny.
We should not be surprised if we have doubts, and if we encounter difficulties. Faith does not guarantee an easy journey, only a meaningful one. The Magi’s journey was one of searching and questioning, of joy and fear and hope. The faith journey contains elements of all of these.
It is important to note that the Magi did not journey as individuals, they had each other. They formed a little community of believers. We too have a community to support us, people who walk with us on the journey.
May the lamp of faith never fail us. May its light see us through the darkness of this world, until we reach the heavenly Bethlehem where we shall see Christ face to face in glory!
- Fr. Dennis, January 6, 2019