The wise men found the infant Jesus in a house some days after Jesus had been born in a stable. Their coming may have occurred around the days of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple forty days after His birth when Simeon prophesied that Jesus was both “a revealing Light to the Gentiles” and “a Sign of contradiction” (Lk 2:32, 34, our transl). Possibly the wise men were wise because they did not contradict Jesus, a Sign of contradiction.
Because they believed the star of Bethlehem was announcing the birth of the King of the Jews, the wise men followed the star, prostrated themselves before Jesus, and “presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt 2:11). The actions of the wise men did not contradict Jesus. However, Herod, after having said he would offer Jesus homage (Mt 2:8), contradicted himself and tried to murder Jesus (Mt 2:16).
We too contradict Jesus and ourselves when we say:
- we believe in God, but we don’t tell others about Him,
- we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion, but we don’t center our lives on receiving Communion,
- the Bible is the Word of God, but we don’t read it daily, and
- prayer is communicating with God, but we don’t set aside a daily prayer time.
There may be other contradictions in our lives. Yet the wise men and women are not contradictory; they are prostrate in worship of Jesus.