Lagura: The Fourth Wise Man-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, January 5, 2013
BESIDES Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar, the wise men whom we know by tradition, a fourth wise man or magus, whom we shall call Artaban, also learned through his studying the texts and the stars about the birth of the Savior. From the three he heard of their common meeting point as they would start together in their search for the newborn King. The fourth magus took along with him precious jewels: a large sapphire, a brilliantly red ruby and a priceless pearl.
Unfortunately when he was on his way to the meeting place, Artaban met lying on the road a man who had been robbed and beaten unconscious by robbers. Without a moment’s hesitation he went down from his camel, and loaded the victim on his mount taking him to the nearest inn. He paid the innkeeper with his sapphire to take care of the victim and nurse him back to health. In doing so, Artaban missed the three other magi who had gone.
Finally he also arrived in Bethlehem only to find out that the Child and his mother had been hastily taken by Joseph to Egypt for safety. That night as the fourth wise man was sleeping he heard the rough voices of soldiers asking if there was a baby boy in the house. And in that house there was a newly born child. The mother pitifully pleaded with Artaban for help, and he, taking out the precious ruby from his bag, bribed the soldiers so that they would go away. The child’s life was spared.
Years passed and Artaban was getting old and weary in his search for the King. One day he heard that one who was proclaimed king of the Jews was being led to Calvary for execution. Artaban wanted to go and bribe the guards with his priceless pearl, but on his way to Jerusalem he saw a young girl being led by some bandits who wanted to turn her over to white slavery. Artaban pleaded with the captors and offered his remaining precious possession in exchange for the girl’s freedom. He promptly turned over the girl to her grateful parents.
Artaban, tired, old and penniless, made his way to Calvary only to hear that his savior was dying on the cross. While he was crawling up that fateful mountain a violent earthquake shook the earth, and a huge rock smashed Artaban’s head. As the fourth wise man lay dying he realized that all the while, the child who came as the Prince of Peace, was always in his heart when he lived a life dedicated to love, justice, generosity, compassion and peace. (an adaptation of a story told by Fr. Flor McCarthy SDB in his book, New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies)
We also, like so many Gentiles, have heard of the birth of our Savior. We look for him. We ask ourselves, what gifts can we offer Him. Many years have passed since the birth of our Savior, yet we can see him, live his life and show who he really is to others by the words of peace that we utter, by the deeds of love, peace, generosity and peace that should mark our lives.
“After their audience with the king [the wise men] set out. And behold, the star they had seen at its rising, preceded them. ….They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasure and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:7-10
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 06, 2013.