Did you know the 3 Magi are actually Saints?
Name: Sts. Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar
Lived: First century
Feast day: January 6
We don’t often think of the Magi as saints, whether we think of them as kings, wise men, or astrologers. Yet saints they are, although, as with many ancient saints, we know very little about them. One thing tradition tells us quite plainly: they were missioners. They traveled from afar, following a star towards the newborn king, Jesus. And, after their encounter with Jesus, they traveled on, preaching the Good News, for the rest of their lives. That’s what missioners do. One tradition suggests they ultimately were martyrs for their faith. Their relics are venerated in several locations, according to local tradition.
The Gospel of Matthew is the only one that mentions the Magi, and includes the story of their journey, their encounter with the vicious King Herod (whom we know, with historical certainty, as a tyrant). They continued their journey, but never came back. The Gospel includes their arrival in Bethlehem, their bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, their worship of Jesus.
Historical details aren’t the point, though. The messages of their story are deep ones for all missioners, indeed, for everyone. Here are 7 to consider:
- Listen to your heart—and to your dreams.
- Observe the signs of the times—how are the events at hand calling you?
- Don’t be afraid to leave it all behind and follow Jesus.
- Take time to worship in awe.
- Don’t put too much trust in worldly power.
- Give of your resources freely, whatever the gifts.
- Wherever you encounter our Lord, whether at Church or in the community, be overwhelmed with joy!
Reflecting on Mt. 2:1-12 will surely bring forth lessons of your own.
Prayer: Sts. Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, we know so little about you, but you inspire our missionary spirit so deeply. In your persistence, trust, faith and respect for something greater than yourselves, help us to see our own path to Jesus.