Who or what is the greatest and best in the universe? Both the three wise men and King Herod were preoccupied with this question.
There was a small difference between them of course:
King Herod was solely occupied with the pursuit his own greatness, while
the wise men were seeking a real greatness and they found it in Bethlehem.
King Herod wanted everyone to give him homage, while
the three wise men were seeking someone really worthy of true homage.
As result of his obsession with his own greatness King Herod became blind. In his blind obsession he killed a lot of people including his wife. That is why Saint Mathew says that when King Herod heard about the newborn king, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
The King was greatly troubled because of fear that someone could attack his own greatness.
All Jerusalem was greatly troubled with him because of the approaching slaughter provoked be king’s blind obsession.
Three magi were neither troubled nor obsessed by the own power and greatness. They knew something about the greatness of the stars and constellations but they didn’t offer homage to them. They were seeking the real and genuine greatness about which these signs in the heaven were speaking.
King Herod was in fact the slave or servant of his own greatness, while
the three kings were really free…[PAUSE]… free, like children.
I say childlike, because children place themselves at the center of the universe and everything else turns around them. All the adults stop and take interest in them. They want to playing with the children, and helping them. The entire society is looking out for them.
Something like this is going on in the story of the three wise men. God has directed the heavens to show them the way. Kings and chief priests, and scribes stop what they are doing to talk with them and see what they are doing and ‘help’ them to find their way to the newborn King.
So these kings eventually
found what they were seeking for. They
found the newborn king. The
found the king born in very poor crib, a king dependant on his mother. The magi
found a greatness which has assumed our fragility and dependence. They
found it because they were poor in their spirit, they were really the children of God.
The three Kings were like children. That’s why
everything turns around them in this story and
all the powers help them to find what they were seeking for.
Now there is another child in this story, the Christ child himself. Despite the fact that he is the source of all the power and greatness he didn’t hesitate to become the most powerless in the world. He didn’t hesitate to become a child. And because he is child he also attracts the attention and interest of the whole universe. The child sits in the manger surrounded by his parent – Mary and Joseph.
As all children, this child is naturally the center of attention. This child like the other children doesn’t need to use a political power in order to attract people. It seems to be natural that everything is turning around him.
But there is also a supernatural element. This child really governs the world. That is why this child is at the center of the story in a supernatural way: surrounded by the shepherds, all the choirs of angels, all the stars in heavens, which are singing the glory of God! To meet him is something like a privilege or vocation. Everybody, even three kings found this child as a result of supernatural gift and a divine help.
The three kings brought to child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But let us concentrate rather on their faces. I’m sure that they were overjoyed like children. I’m sure, that it like three children in spirit meet another one child. The story shows us that only those who are somehow similar to God can find him. If you we are not like children we can’t entre into the Kingdom of Heaven. People who seek its own greatness can’t understand it. But three kings understood it very well.