The foolish wisdom of the Three Wise Men

01-07-2018Weekly ReflectionThe Catholic Sun with Fr. John Parks, Vicar of Evangelization — Dec 22, 2017

Their journey of encounter is an example for all of us "I call them the three fools."

"What?" I said a little incredulously to Dr. Robbins.

"Yeah, I call them the three fools. After all, who would leave everything that is safe and comfortable to travel in the darkness after a star merely because it promised something better?"

I knew what Dr. Robbins was doing. He was being provocative in a desire to teach me a lesson. We were standing in his office in front of a large painting depicting the Three Wise Men sitting on camels as they traveled by night to a distant star. That conversation was a seminal moment in how I came to understandthe journey of the Three Wise Men.

God had revealed to the Three Wise Men, through a star rising in the East, that the King of the Jews was to be born. They traveled to Bethlehem, where the chief priests and scribes said he was to be born, so that they could worship Him. What an adventure that must have been! Did they ever doubt and consider turning back? Did they ever wonder if finding the King of the Jews would be worth it?

The Three Wise Men remind us that a life of faith — of following Jesus — is to be an adventure. God has created us for greatness. Jesus came that we would have life "to the full" (Jn 10:10) and that from His fullness "we have received grace upon grace" (John 1:16). So, why don't we always experience that?

Think of the Israelites in the Old Testament. They complained against Moses about leading them into the discomfort of the desert. At times they thought it would be better to be back in Egypt, a place in which they were enslaved! Why would they possibly want to go back? Although it was degrading, it wasknown, and in that sense, it was comfortable.

The same dynamic can occur in our own lives. We may have wounds we are not dealing with, settling with mediocrity in some area ofour lives, or find ourselves constantly returning to an old pattern of sin. Why don't we change? Well, one reason is that despite the fact we may not like where we are at, it is known — and therefore comfortable to us.

But the life of faith is not to be a life of com- fort, but greatness. After their encounter with Jesus, the Scriptures say that the Three WiseMen, "departed to their own country by another way" (Mt 2:12). You see, when you have an encounter with Jesus, you are never the same way again. Jesus promises us that He constantly draws us closer to Him and that He"makes all things new" (Rev. 21:5). This Advent, Jesus desires to make you new through His love.

So, how is Jesus calling you this Advent and Christmas season to be uncomfortable for Him? How is He inviting you into a new place of healing, of peace, of joy, of life, of goodness by leaving what is known and comfortable to follow Him boldly? It may not make your life easier, but it will make it better.

The Three Wise Men remind us that we were made for greatness. Our lives are to be an adventure — to boldly embrace God's will for our lives — to seek what is true, good and beautiful by leaving what is mediocre, safe and boring. To live life comfortably for yourself? Now that would be foolish.

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