In his homily, at the Holy Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany, Francis emphasized that “the gift of faith is not given to us so that we may continue to stare at the sky, but so that we may walk the roads of the world as witnesses of the Gospel”
From the newsroom, with Vatican News
Pope Francis presided, on the morning of this Saturday, 6th, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Eucharistic celebration on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. During his homily, he highlighted the figures of the Magi who set out in search of the King who was born.
“They are an image of the people who walk in search of God, of the foreigners who are now led to the mountain of the Lord, of those far away who can now hear the announcement of salvation, of all those lost who hear the call of a friendly voice”, recalled the Pope, who then invited the faithful to reflect on three aspects: “they have their eyes pointed towards heaven, their feet walking on the earth, their hearts prostrate in adoration”.
See reality from above
Firstly, said the Holy Father, “the Magi have their eyes pointed towards heaven. They do not live looking down on their toes, closed in on themselves, prisoners of an earthly horizon, but they raise their heads, waiting for a light that illuminates the meaning of their life, a salvation that comes from above”.
This is the key that unlocks the true meaning of our existence, Francis emphasized: “if we live closed within the narrow perimeter of earthly things, if we walk with our heads down, hostage to our failures and longings, if we are hungry for worldly goods and consolations instead of If we seek light and love, our life fades away.”
“Brothers and sisters, eyes pointed to the sky! We need to look upwards to learn to see reality from above.”
“We need this on the path of life, to accompany us by friendship with the Lord, by his love that sustains us, by the light of his Word that guides us like a star in the night. We need this on the path of faith, so that it is not reduced to a set of religious practices or an external habit, but becomes a fire that burns within us and makes us passionate seekers of the face of the Lord and witnesses of his Gospel. We need this in the Church, where, instead of dividing ourselves based on our ideas, we are called to place God at the center, far from ecclesiastical ideologies.”
God, infinitely great, reveals Himself in the small
Furthermore, the Pontiff continued when speaking of the second aspect, “the Magi have their feet walking on the earth. The star that shines in the sky sends them to travel the roads of the earth; by raising their heads upwards, they are impelled to descend downwards; when looking for God, they are sent to find Him in man, in a Child who is in a manger, because God, who is infinitely great, revealed Himself in the little one, in this infinitely little one.”
The Pope recalled that “the gift of faith is not given to us to remain fixed on the sky, but to walk the roads of the world as witnesses of the Gospel; the light that illuminates our lives, the Lord Jesus, is not given to us just to be comforted in our nights, but to open cracks of light in the dense darkness that surrounds many social situations; the God who comes to visit us, we do not find Him remaining firm in a beautiful religious theory, but only by setting out on our journey, looking for signs of His presence in everyday realities and, above all, finding and touching the flesh of our brothers”.
Encountering God in a concrete way
The Magi look for God, and find a Boy of flesh and blood, the Pope emphasized, “how important it is to find God in flesh and blood, in the faces that we meet every day, especially those of the poorest. In effect, the Magi teach us that the encounter with God opens us to greater hope, which makes us change our lifestyles and transform the world.”
Francis then recalled Pope Benedict’s homily Benedict XVI, on the Solemnity of the Epiphany in 2006: “if true hope is lacking, one seeks happiness in ecstasy, in the superfluous, in excesses, and ruins oneself and the world. Therefore there is a need for men who have great hope and possess great courage. The courage of the Magi, who undertook a long journey following a star, and who knew how to kneel before a Child and offer him their precious gifts.”
In the face of mystery, worship God
Finally, the Holy Father explored the third aspect, “the Magi have their hearts prostrate in adoration”. They fix the star in the sky, but they do not take refuge in a devotion disconnected from the earth; They set out on a journey, but they don’t wander like aimless tourists.
Faced with this mystery, the Pope underlined, “we are called to bow our hearts and bend our knees to worship: to adore the God who comes in smallness, who lives in the normal environment of our homes, who dies for love. God, at the same time that He manifested Himself in the immensity of the sky with the signs of the stars, made Himself found in a narrow refuge; weak in the flesh of a child, wrapped in the swaddling clothes of a newborn, he was adored by the Magi and feared by the wicked.”
“Let us rediscover the taste of worship prayer. Let us recognize Jesus as our God and Lord, let us worship Him again.”
Francisco concluded his reflection with an invitation: “like the Magi, let us lift our eyes to the sky, let us set out in search of the Lord, let us bow our hearts in adoration. And let us ask for the grace to never lose courage: the courage to be seekers of God, men of hope, intrepid dreamers who peer into the sky and walk the roads of the world to bring to everyone the light of Christ, which illuminates every man.”
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