THERE ARE SOME Gospel verses that are especially beautiful, memorable and deeply meaningful in their simplicity. One of these is heard in Matthew's account of the visiting magi at Mass today.
The magi arrive at Jerusalem from the East. They present themselves to King Herod who is perturbed when he hears the child referred to as "King of the Jews." Seized with negative emotion he investigates the scriptures and sends the magi on their way with the instruction to stop off on their way home to fill him in on the child's whereabouts, so that he may worship the baby as well. Then we hear the beautiful line ~ Matthew 2:10
- The sight of the star filled them with delight. (Jerusalem Bible)
- When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Revised Standard Version)
- They, when they saw the star, were glad beyond measure. (Ronald Knox Translation)
The magi weren't just happy as when the GPS brings us to a new destination, but they were filled with delight and glad beyond measure. Doesn't the world need that kind of joy?
These are searchers. And the search has taken them on a long journey far from home. Can you name the search for yourself? Can you name the journey which began in the deepest inner place? Can you name your best longing - your most heart-felt, yet-to-be-realized hope or desire? We might have to sit quietly for a time to have a think on these things.
Carl Jung said that the answers to all of our real problems (searches) is a spiritual answer or solution. Notice that when the magi's search ends, it ends in worship. At Bethlehem God is asking us to re-imagine. At Bethlehem we're asked, what does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be human? At Bethlehem we are asked: Who is God? ~ Who am I? We're asked to re-imagine family. Re-imagine happiness.
And if we are to go on our own interior journey, it may well take us far from our symbolic home (where we started or what we've settled for) - being led by and to God's surprise!
Of course, in the bright joy of the Magi's discovery we anticipate that other great joy, that of the Myrrh-Bearing Women at the far end of Matthew's Gospel (chapter 28) - running from the tomb of Easter morning.