7 Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; 8 And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him. 9 Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.
Chrysostom: The star appeared to them long time before, because the journey would take up some time, and they were to stand before Him immediately on His birth, that seeing Him in swaddling clothes, He might seem the more wonderful.
Remigius: The Magi obeyed the King so far as to seek the Lord, but not to return to Herod. Like in this to good hearers; the good they hear from wicked preachers, that they do; but do not imitate their evil lives.
Pseudo-Chrysostom: When the star had brought the Magi nearly to Jerusalem, it was hidden from them, and so they were compelled to ask in Jerusalem, “where Christ should be born?” and thus to manifest Him to them.
“The star went before them,” to shew them the greatness of the King.
What wonder that a divine star should minister to the Sun of righteousness about to rise. It stood over the Child’s head, as it were, saying, This is He; proving by its place what it had no voice to utter.
Augustine: To perform its due service to the Lord, it advanced slowly, leading them to the spot. It was ministering to Him, and not ruling His fate; its light shewed the suppliants and filled the inn, shed over the walls and roof that covered the birth; and thus it disappeared.
Gloss: It is evident that the star must have been in the air, and close above the house where the Child was, else it would not have pointed out the exact house.
Ambrose: The star is the way, and the way is Christ; and according to the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ is a star. He is a blazing and a morning-star. Thus where Herod is, the star is not seen; where Christ is, there it is again seen, and points out the way.
Remigius: The star figures the grace of God.
Gloss: The star is the illumination of faith, which leads him to the nearest aid.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).