Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis said on the day of the Epiphany of the Lord, which is “the manifestation of Jesus that shines like a light upon all the nations”, that the Magi are a model for “those who seek the light", for those who “go out and search” who “do not remain inward-looking, focused on what happens around them”. Instead, “they place their own life on the line”.
The pontiff also had copies of a booklet titled Icons of Mercy handed out to some 60,000 people gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer, by volunteers, including some who are poor and homeless.
“Today we celebrate today the Epiphany of the Lord,” the Holy Father said before the Marian prayer, which “is the manifestation of Jesus that shines like a light upon all the nations. The symbol of the light that shines in the world and wants to brighten the life of everyone is the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem. 'We saw his star at its rising’ (Mt 2,2), they said, and they chose to follow it; they chose to be guided by the star of Jesus.
“In our life, there are several stars, lights that twinkle and guide u. It is up to us to choose which ones to follow. There are flashing lights that come and go, like the small pleasures of life. Although they may be good, they are not enough because they do not last and do not bring the peace we seek. Then there are the dazzling lights of the limelight, money and success that promise everything right away. They are seductive, but with their strength they blind and lead us from dreams of glory to the thickest darkness. By contrast, the Magi invite us to follow a stable and friendly light, which never wanes because it is not of this world but comes from heaven and shines in the heart."
“This true light is the light of the Lord, or rather, it is the Lord. He is our light – a light that does not dazzle, but accompanies and gives a unique joy. This light is for everyone and calls on everyone. We can thus feel that today’s call from the prophet Isaiah – ‘Arise! Shine’ (Is 60:1) – is for us.
“We can welcome this call at the start of each day: Arise, shine, follow today, among the many shooting stars in the world, the bright star of Jesus! By following it, we shall have joy, as did the Magi, who 'were overjoyed at seeing the star’ (Mt 2:10) because where there is God there is joy. Those who have encountered Jesus experienced the miracle of light that pierces the darkness and know this light that illuminates and brightens.
“I respectfully would like to call on everyone not to be afraid of this light and open up to the Lord. Especially, I would like to say to those who have lost the strength to seek, to those who, dominated by the darkness of life, no longer long: ‘Take courage, the light of Jesus can overcome the darkest gloom’. Get up! Take courage!"
“How can we find this divine light? Let us follow the Magi’s example, whom the Gospel always describes as on the move. Those who seek light, must go out and search. They do not remain inward-looking, focused on what happens around them; they place their life on the line. The Christian life is a continuous journey, made up of hope and search. [It is] a path that, like that of the Magi, also continues when the star momentarily disappears from view. In this journey, there are also some pitfalls that should be avoided: superficial and mundane chatter that slow the pace, the paralysing whims of selfishness, the hollowness of pessimism that traps hope.
“These obstacles halted the scribes, of whom the Gospel speaks today. They knew where the light was, but did not budge. [. . .] The Magi did. They found the Child, and ‘prostrated themselves and did him homage.’ (Mt 2: 11). They did not simply look at him, they did not simply say a suitable prayer”. Instead, “they worshiped him. They entered into a personal communion of love with Jesus. They presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh, that is their most valuable goods. We learn from the Magi not to devote to Jesus only spare time and the occasional thought; otherwise we would not have his light. Like the Magi, let us set out, covering ourselves in the light by following the star of Jesus. Let us worship the Lord with the whole of ourselves."