e saw the star
at its rising, and have come to do Him homage” (Mt 2:2). So said the wise men to King Herod when they arrived in Jerusalem, seeking the newborn king. Who were these wise men? The gospels refer to them as magi, and tell us they came from the east. Historians have speculated as to their identity. Tradition even gives them names: Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. But all we really know about them is that they saw a light, and they followed it to Christ. For this, they are called wise.
Jesus said of Himself, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). It is fitting that a star, source of physical light, would herald the arrival of Jesus, the source of spiritual light. Isaiah, foretelling the coming of the Messiah, proclaims, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come” (Is 60:1).
Jesus is often associated with light in the scriptures and in the prayers of the liturgy. John’s gospel calls Jesus a “light shining in the darkness” (Jn 1:5). During the Easter Vigil liturgy we proclaim
, “Christ our Light!” as the Paschal candle is brought into the church. Every Sunday when we profess our creed, we declare Jesus to be “light from light.”
Without light our eyes couldn’t function. Light allows us to see the world. It makes it possible for us to perceive our surroundings and our place within them. Light allows us to see each other, and to see ourselves...