In the different Biblical literatures, the three wise men were either referred to as the three kings or the three Magi. They were to give the gifts that would depict the symbols of Christianity. Gold depicted the kingship of Christians, Myrrh depicted the Christian as a teacher and frankincense depicted the Priesthood of each Christian.
During my childhood days, I got confused whether these three men were kings or wise men. In many depiction of the nativity scene, they were represented by three men clothed in richness like that of monarchs. They were men from the orient. Two were Caucasians and the other was dark skinned. When I had my seminary studies, we were told that these three were astrologers for they were to see the reality of the prophesy by following the stars. Later they were referred to as the wise men or philosophers waiting for the coming of the prophesied one.
Anyway, the three represented our Christianity. The gifts they gave to the Savior has really symbolized the threefold function of Christianity. The Gold depicts the King. The kingship of every Christian is for service and not to be served by others. Christ came to us as a gift from God to serve humanity. Every Christian leader should follow this value of Christ. Each one should come out to do service to his constituents.
In our country, our leaders have failed in this aspect. Many of them failed to see leadership as service. They have the notion that leadership is a crown of glory. They have used authority to satisfy their selfish motives. This come out because our leaders have to comprehension of what a leader or a king is. Plato and the ancient Philosophers once theorized that best leaders are the philosopher-king. The simple reason is that these people really know and understand their being of existence unlike the politicians that all they know is politicizing and playing gods.
The other gift given by the wise men in the manger is Myrrh. This depicted the coming suffering of the Savior for humanities sake. It was a foretelling of yet to come for the King of kings. The three wise men already knew of what to come of this child. Suffering is part of every Christian life. Each Christian has to sacrifice. The call to Christianity is service and sacrifice with love. The decisions we make should be based on our principles. Christians are always ready to give up the personal over the community. Sacrifice is essential for every Christian. However, these sacrifices and sufferings are to be taken as gifts from God. Every Christian knows that God will never give us sufferings which we cannot carry. Each suffering or sacrifice we make are our little crosses in life.
Today, in our country, our dear government officials are very fearful of sacrifice. All they think of is their personal gain. Many of them are putting their interests first over common good. They are looking at their job as a bed of roses and are never ready to lift a finger to suffer or give sacrifices for the good of the country. The Cha-cha in Congress is a great indication that our dear leaders are working for their own good and never think of the goodness of the community or the society. It is very sad to not that we are the only Christina nation in the Far east, yet we are the once who really live a pagan life.
So, we should always be reminded of the myrrh as a great symbol of the essence of Christianity.
The frankincense depicted the priestly function of Christianity. Each one of us are called to be priests. This means that we have the obligation to help sanctify other people. We need to bring man closer to God and God closer to Man as in the words of St. John Vianney. Sanctification is not a personal business. To be holy or blessed means that everyone in your company or community should also receive the same. Our Priesthood is an extension of the Priesthood of Christ. We are not ordained ministers but we have to make others also holy through our actions and beliefs. When we go down, everyone goes down with us. When we sin, everyone also goes down with us in sin.
Sin enters here as a hindrance to our sanctification. We must help one another become liberated from sin. However, when one does not like to go out from sin, it becomes his option to remain in sin but will always bring other also into sin.
Today, looking at our country’s leaders, they are very busy doing their jobs to fatten their material goods. Many of them are busy in their works in collaboration with materialism. They become too materialistic and often forget to return back to God and forget in making other people holy. Committing sin is an ordinary matter in our government today. It seems that graft and corruption had become a part of their lives in government. No one is afraid of the consequences of their acts. They are not fearful of the “Karma” of their actions. This is because many have forgotten of their priestly function.
So, let the gifts of the magi be our reminders of our function as real believers of Christ.
St. Ezekiel Moreno and Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
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Carlos Legaspi, Jr.