There are t.v. “specials” and websites aplenty to satisfy our interest in “Where are they now?” If you want to know what happened to your favorite teenage star after the show ended or what happened when the bright lights and big money of major sports faded, the information is out there. I’d like a similar (if less salacious) follow up on some Biblical characters. Where did the rich man go after Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor and follow him (Luke 18:18-30)? Did he sell any and give some? How much? Did he ever meet back up with Jesus and follow? What was next for Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ ascension? And, more related to yesterday’s gospel lesson (Matthew 2:1-12), what did the magi do after they left Bethlehem having knelt before Jesus?
We aren’t given those answers, which allows our imaginations to run wild. Our experiences with humanity and awareness of our own inclinations might cause us to draw certain conclusions. We might also allow for how Jesus’ arrival in our lives immediately and/or slowly redirected them and, therefore, could have done the same to the magi and the rich man, as it seems he did to Mary.
We won’t know what happened after the story closed on Biblical characters. Probably, as is the case for many of us, there were times of greater devotion than others, times of deeper faith and more faithful action and times of greater distance from God and neighbor.
Whatever we might imagine about them, we know our own lives, our own ebbs and flows. We also know our story is still being written. We have time to kneel before Jesus and then stand up and serve him in ways that pay him the homage he deserves. Whatever ebbs and flows we’ve known in the past (and may know in the future), today is an opportunity to move in God’s direction. Today is an opportunity to love in his name.
At some point, someone will wonder, “What ever happened to (you)?” Whether they can uncover the full story or not won’t matter nearly as much as those with whom you lived the days of your story. What will happen to you and because of you today?