Jesus: Our Guiding Star
Has an author or speaker ever opened up Scripture for you in a new and vibrant way? Before I read Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘Infancy Narratives’ last Summer, I thought I knew the story of three wise men: How easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking we understand God’s word – truth is, it never fails to surprise!
For instance, I had missed the deeper significance of the star. At the time of Jesus, a prevailing belief was that the stars and planets were divine – thereby ruling the world and directing man’s destiny. Yet, Pope Benedict strongly asserts the opposite: ‘It is not the star that determines the child’s destiny, it is the child who directs the star’ (p.101). Long before He lay incarnate in Mary’s womb, Jesus was directing the path of history – and He is still doing so. All around us the physical world speaks of Christ, is fashioned to draw us to Him. It invites us to look UP.
Secondly, despite the great worldly wisdom of these wise men, they were nevertheless unable to complete the final leg of their journey without assistance. They arrive at King Herod’s door in Jerusalem with a burning question: “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” (Mt 2:2). Only when King Herod gathered together all the chief priests and scribes of the city, do the wise men get an answer: “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they respond, “For so it has been written by the prophet” (Mt 2:5). In the Acts of the Apostles we see something similar: Philip is sent to minister to an Ethiopian struggling to understand the prophet Isaiah: “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asks. “How can I?” the Ethiopian wisely replies, “unless someone guides me?”
Like the Magi – and the Ethiopian – we need the help and wisdom of the Church to interpret Scripture correctly. We also need the humility to seek it. Ultimately, Jesus is our guiding star, yet He established His Church for this very reason: to draw us heavenwards into His eternal embrace.
Thank you for the great richness of Your Word
May we draw deeply from it, live by it,
And – like the three wise men – have the humility to seek help in interpreting it. Thank You for the great wisdom of the Church!
Through Christ our Lord,