It’s an intriguing question, one I’d never really applied to the three wise men before.
We hear their story at Mass this weekend – the mysterious visitors from ‘the East’ who travel great distances to pay homage to the newborn king, the Christ, at Bethlehem.
What we don’t hear, as one of my companions pointed out during our scripture study this morning, is much about their lives after the fact.
Did this encounter with Christ make any lasting difference in their lives? We hear nothing more about them in Matthew’s gospel, or anywhere else in scripture.
Tradition gives us their names: Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior. (At least that’s how we know them in the Western tradition; Eastern rites give them other names.)
But that’s pretty much it: After meeting the Christ child, we are told that they go home ‘by another way.’
It’s a wonderful phrase, isn’t it? And full of meaning – for it suggests that they have indeed been changed by the encounter. The wise men came looking for a king – and found one in Herod, a king who held little appeal once they’d met Christ.
But what happens after they make their way home?
It remains a mystery to us. And that’s perhaps as it should be.
Wisdom comes to us, and beckons us to join Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior in entering into the divine mystery.
Wisdom teaches us, too, that we don’t always get to know the end of the story.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.