Tradition tells us that their names were Casper, Melchior and Balthasar. They were known as magi from the East, the wise men, the three kings, as astronomers or astrologers, studying the stars, seekers, travelers from distant lands. But what describes them best is the moniker of "wise".
Their wisdom is found in the fact that each of them knew enough to realize that they were not the be all and end all of all that there is. They were not masters and lords of their lives. They felt the void, knew the hunger, realized that something beyond themselves was necessary for happiness and satisfaction, for contentment and peace. And they were willing to put it all on the line to search it out, to seek fulfillment, to fill the void. They spent their lives searching the wisdom of cultures, of studying the skies for signs and portents, of listening in the quiet of their hearts for a doorway to truth.
When they saw the star, they knew it represented a hope given to the world, that it stood for a milestone in human history, that it signified the coming or birth of a great king. And so they set out. And as they realized that they were not alone in their quest, they joined forces and journeyed together. They followed the star. They came to the cross roads of the Middle East, Jerusalem, to ask for guidance. And they were directed to Bethlehem of Judea, where they found the young child and his mother and her husband ... in a modest house, living hardworking and simple lives, unassuming and filled with peace and joy. They brought gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh - expecting nothing in return. But they went home blessed in unbelievable ways that spoke of contentment and peace, joy and the happiness of those who know that they have been touched by the love of God. Their hunger was satisfied, their void filled to the brim, their joy complete, their searching done.
On this feast of the Epiphany, when the manifestation of
God to the world is celebrated, may our search lead us to the Christ, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, our Lord and our brother. And may we find blessings beyond our hopes.