The Journey of the Magi

Have you ever really thought about the journey of the Magi? How long was the journey? What did they have to go through to get to Bethlehem? Traditionally, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany around January 6, the second Sunday after Christmas. This leads us to believe that the Magi appeared soon after Jesus’ birth.
But if this was true why did Herod have killed every male child two years old or younger? If you remember he talked to the Wise Men and questioned them about the appearance of the star. It is more likely that the star had appeared over a year before the arrival of the Wise Men. The reality is that our quaint manger scenes are probably a bit inaccurate. The Wise Men probably didn’t arrive when Jesus was an infant but over a year old. They probably found Him living with Joseph and Mary in a house in Bethlehem.
Think about their journey. They traveled at least a year, maybe a year and a half to get to Bethlehem. Most likely they traveled on camel or horseback, hundreds of miles across rough terrain, deserts, rivers, even during the winter months. They endured rain, mud, sand, heat and frigid nights in the winter. Why did they endure all this, to worship a child, a baby one year old?
Think about what it must have felt like! They saw a star predicted by Jewish prophets, hundreds of years before. They thought it signified the birth of the newborn king of the Jews. Intellectually, they had no clue that this would be Jesus, the Son of God. Why did they embark on such an arduous journey? What difference could it make to them that the future king of the Jews was born? Palestine was under the rule of the Romans, the only Jewish king, Herod, was a puppet of the Romans serving only at the pleasure of Rome. Would you bother to undergo such a hard journey to see the future puppet of Rome?
Intellectually, their journey makes no sense. They traveled a great distance under conditions we can’t imagine with all our conveniences. The closest we could come would be to cross the country by horseback, camping every night. They had no convenience stores, Coleman stoves or lanterns. They probably didn’t even use charcoal but instead had to make wood fires. The roads were primitive and didn’t follow the shortest route but would follow the sources of water and food available. Then after they finally arrive to see Jesus they have to make the same journey to return home. Perhaps they were on the road for three years.
Why did they go on such a journey? Their spouses or families probably thought they were nuts. All that travel ate up a lot of money. What made them travel so far? Intellectually, they shouldn’t have known they were going to see the Son of God but there was a pull in their hearts. Maybe they didn’t quite understand themselves but they had to answer the call they felt in their hearts even if the journey made no sense intellectually.
We have to ask ourselves. If we were in the same position as the Magi would we answer the call of our hearts to worship the Lord? Do we now? How easy is it for us to go and worship Jesus in the Tabernacle? We don’t have to ride horses or camels. We don’t have to travel over a year. Most of us can reach a Catholic church in minutes. We know, intellectually that Jesus is present in the Tabernacle and at every mass. Yet most of the time our churches are empty.
God is still calling us to worship Him in the Tabernacle. He is still tugging on our hearts, still waiting for us to worship Him. Are we listening?

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Author: ronquinlan

To me the message is what is important. Feel free to copy and use anything on this blog. Some pieces were originally published by Catholic Lane so please give them credit. I am a charismatic Roman Catholic and former Social Studies teacher in Catholic Schools. Pieces I've written have been published on Catholi Lane, Catholic Exchange and the Women of Grace blog.

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