Even though Christmas is officially over 😭, the priest shared something during last week’s homily about the birth of Christ.
I attend Chinese mass for granny’s sake, so I always have to ask Shaun what’s going on after mass. Mind you, his mandarin is worse than mine, but he’s extremely familiar with the Bible and so he catches what the priest is trying to say, way better than me.
We all might have heard or read about the three wise men who traveled long and hard just to witness the birth of Jesus, and they went bearing gifts. Everyone envied them for being able to witness such an important and life-changing event for mankind.
But did you know that there was a fourth wise man?
He traveled from afar, hoping to witness the birth of Christ too, bearing treasures as gifts. However, he got held up when he stopped to help someone in need at the desert and so he missed his caravan ride with the three other wise men.
Traveling only by horse, he made a pit stop at a village. He saw that there were many who were sick and rendered help to them as he had medicinal knowledge. The villagers were so grateful that they asked him to stay and be their leader and ruler.
He knew he had to serve the people who are lost and sick. So he stayed on, and became an effective and compassionate ruler. The village flourished under his leadership.
Years flew by and he had already missed the birth of Jesus. Each time he wanted to leave the village to continue his quest to meet Jesus, he got held up by his people and felt the responsibility to stay and help them. Overtime. he had exhausted all the treasures that was meant to be gifted to Jesus, each time to help others.
When Jesus was 30+, about to be crucified, the fourth wise man was already very old. He set out to journey towards Jesus but his frail body could not take the hardship.
During his final breath, he saw the face of Jesus and Jesus told him that he is happy with his work on earth, because he led by example and sacrificed for his people. The fourth wise man took his last breath with a smile and calm radiance, because he had finally seen the face of his King.
This story has been told in various versions but it all leads to the same moral: that religion isn’t just a decision to believe and to secure a place in heaven. When you do good, God is in you and with you.
Many times I see people proclaiming how good God is to them, how wonderful it is to be a child favoured by God and how many miracles God has performed for them. I am glad and happy for them. Thanks to them, people come to know God.
But let’s not forget the quiet worshippers, people who are shy, who don’t have the habit of sharing good news or proclaiming their love. There are non-believers, or people of different religions, who are serving the people everyday. These could be your everyday heroes - doctors, nurses, janitors, teachers, therapists, pastors, priests, firefighters, policemen, circus performers, prison wardens, gardeners, construction workers, bus drivers, country leaders and the list is endless.
These people are doing the work of God subconsciously and they don’t even know what a great difference they are making. Even if it’s just putting a smile on someone else’s face. They are improving, changing and saving lives!
We are here on Earth for a very limited time, make it count by being a kind person. Ask ourselves, is the world a better place because of me?
We don’t need big gestures like donating millions to charities or over-sacrificing our time to help others. In our daily lives, do our best, even if it’s the simplest task like making a meal for your child or chairing another meeting that you think it’s inefficient and meaningless, find joy in knowing that your contribution is valued by someone.
The next time someone irritates you on the train, gives you bad attitude at a department store or was even outright mean to you, just let it go. That person may have been brought up differently, or had the worst day of his/her life that we can’t imagine. Have compassion.
The fourth wise man is fictional, and is not found in the Bible.
Sorry for the anticlimax, but yes, he is fictional. But the parable that we can draw from this story is that not everyone can have a glorious entrance in life, to be wise and rich and be able to see magnificent things. (Like the three wise men.)
But we can all make our 60-100 years on earth a meaningful and fulfilled one, by being a good person. Eventually, we will have a grand exit to meet our Maker, with a “calm radiance” and nothing less than the best from our King.
May we all aim to be that fourth wise man and make our time on earth a meaningful one!
Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019
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