Friday, January 4, 2013

A disconcerting tale

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
December 31, 2012

Matthew 2: 1-12

One can adopt very different attitudes towards Jesus. The story of the Wise Men talks about the reactions of three groups of people. Some pagans who seek him, led by the little light of a star. The representatives of the Temple religion, who remain indifferent. The powerful King Herod who only sees Him as a threat.

The Wise Men do not belong to the chosen people. They don't know the living God of Israel. We know nothing of their religion or their native people. Just that they live attentive to the mystery contained in the cosmos. Their hearts seek the truth.

At some point they think they see a small light that points to a Savior. They need to know who he is and where he is. They quickly set off. They don't know the exact itinerary to be followed, but the hope of finding a light for the world burns inside them.

Their arrival in the holy city of Jerusalem causes widespread shock. Convened by Herod, the Great Council of  "the chief priests and scribes of the people" meets. Their performance is disappointing. They are the guardians of the true religion, but don't seek the truth. They represent the God of the Temple, but are deaf to His call.

Their religious security blinds them. They know where the Messiah is to be born but none of them will come near to Bethlehem. They devote themselves to worshiping God but they don't suspect that His mystery is greater than all religions and He has His ways of meeting all His sons and daughters. They will never recognize Jesus.

King Herod, powerful and brutal, only sees Jesus as a threat to his power and cruelty. He will do everything possible to eliminate him. From the perspective of oppressive power, the one who brings liberation can only be "crucified."

Meanwhile, the Wise Men continue their quest. They don't fall to their knees before Herod -- they find nothing in him worthy of adoration. They don't go into the grandiose Temple of Jerusalem -- they are prohibited from entering. The little light of the star draws them to the small town of Bethlehem, far from any center of power.

On arriving, the only thing they see is "the child with Mary his mother." Nothing else. A child with no splendor or power whatsoever. A fragile life that needs a mother's care. It's enough to stir up adoration in the Wise Men.

The tale is disconcerting. Those who are settled in power or closed in religious security don't find this God, who is hidden in human fragility. He is revealed to those who, led by little lights, search tirelessly for hope for the human race in the tenderness and poverty of life.

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