In today’s gospel, we learned from the three Magi: “We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Our three friends got their calling far away in the East. It was a long journey from the first calling to its fulfillment.
I first thought seriously about the priesthood in my sophomore year of high school. But it took a while until I made a decision during my senior year in 1993. That is when I saw the rising of the star. Yes, I’m old 🙂
I had taken some months to discern seriously. At the end of this time, I was one day reading a brochure on missions at my kitchen table. It was a short text about Christ redeeming us with his blood and the sacraments as rivers of grace that come to people down from Calvary. At that moment, a thought crossed my mind: “I can become a priest and be a channel of Jesus’ love for people.” Immediately, I felt a profound consolation. It was as if all difficulties and blocks were removed from my mind. I knelt before an image of the Blessed Mother and the Child in my room and told them that if Jesus really, really, really wanted me to do this, I would.
A few days later, I made my final decision to join Miles Christi and become a priest. Upon graduating high school, I entered the seminary. It took me almost 13 years of formation until I was ordained in December of 2006.
From seeing the start to arriving at the destination, it is a long way in any vocation. We’ve just talked about the priesthood, but this applies to married life or any career.
For any vocation, then, the Magi teach us some lessons that can be useful in our journey.
The first lesson is to follow God’s will without delay. The Magi were experts in a wide variety of sciences, including astronomy. That is why they are also called Wise men. When they saw the start, they connected it with the prophecies of the Jewish messiah that they had learned through commerce with Israel.
Their statement to Herod is very straightforward. We saw the star, and we have come. This simplicity denotes great docility to God’s will and incredible generosity. What would happen in our lives if every time we saw the star, we followed right away? We would become saints.
The second lesson is perseverance. We know the star disappeared at a certain point, and the Magi went to Jerusalem and found nothing. To these difficulties, we need to add a long trip of two thousand miles, which would take at least five months over ancient roads.
They overcame every difficulty with God’s grace, even the loss of the star. How many times we are challenged in our journey by difficulties, and we want to give up? Let us persevere, aided by God’s grace.
The last lesson is that the Magi kept the goal in sight at all times. The goal was all along to worship Jesus, praise, adore, and serve him, and bring their gifts to him. That is what gave them strength along the way.
As we walk in our vocations, let us keep our sights on Jesus Christ and our friendship with him. We are only pilgrims on this earth. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will always have enough strength to overcome any obstacle.
May the Magi intercede today for us so that we might be courageous in following God’s will right away, persevere over any difficulty, and keep our eyes always on Jesus.