The Magi saw an extraordinary star, which illuminated the sky of their eastern lands. They knew the prophetic writings of Israel that announced the birth of a great Messiah, a Savior King, and they saw this omen as a sign that such a king had been born. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, they went out to worship him. And so, as Pope Benedict XVI pointed out, they were led to Jesus by the star and by the sacred books of Israel, or, in other words, by creation and by the word of God. They made use of what God had sent them. The star was not an unequivocal sign. Its movement invited to follow it, but it was not an explicit message. The Magi were not given a full explanation or a clear map. Likewise, their knowledge of the Scriptures would have been limited. As we have said, they would have heard of the prophecies of the Messiah, but probably did not have their own copies of them. They had heard and were willing to listen; for those with open hearts, even a little information is enough.
The Magi were wise precisely because they made use of what God gave them. They did not complain that God did not give them more explicit instructions, that the plan was so unknown and so uncertain. Wisdom consists in making good use of what we have, however little, and in fighting against the wish to have more, or something different.
The experts of Jerusalem, the high priests and the scribes had much more knowledge than the Magi. But the Magi were wise, and the experts were not. The latter knew the theory, but their more perfect knowledge did not lead them to act. They were able to tell Herod that the Messiah was to be born: "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so the prophet has written: 'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means the last of the towns of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a leader who will shepherd my people Israel'". But, whether out of indifference or fear of the king, we did not hear that any of them followed the star.
Wisdom is versatile and willing to follow in the dark, as the Magi followed the star in the night. But there is always a star in that darkness, whether it is our conscience, the teaching of the Church or the advice of a wise priest or friend.
Following the star, at the end of their journey they found the one who is the light of the world. All partial truths, if we follow them with sincerity, lead to the fullness of truth, which is Jesus Christ himself, even if that truth comes "wrapped" in poverty and weakness. They presented their gifts and were directed to return to their own land. "by another way" safe from Herod. The generous willingness to seek the truth ends up leading to God, and He shows us a safe way to follow Him in ordinary life, "in our own land".
Homily on the readings of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (A)
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.