“The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East.” This was the focal point of Pope Francis’ homily yesterday during the Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Reflecting on the experience of the Magi’s journey in searching for Christ, the Holy Father began his homily by saying that in following a light, the Magi also searched for the Light: Jesus Christ.
“Our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World,” he said. Recalling the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, God’s call for Jerusalem to “Arise, shine!” is the vocation of the People of God. It is possible, however, to fail in this call.
“The Gospel tells us that the Magi, when they arrived in Jerusalem, lost sight of the star for a time. They no longer saw it. Its light was particularly absent from the palace of King Herod: his dwelling was gloomy, filled with darkness, suspicion, fear, envy,” he said.
“The king and his counsellors sensed that the foundations of their power were crumbling. They feared that the rules of the game were being turned upside down, that appearances were being unmasked. A whole world built on power, on success, possessions and corruption was being thrown into crisis by a child! Herod went so far as to kill the children.”
The Pope went on to say that the Magi overcame this moment of darkness before Herod due to their belief in the Scripture and thus continuing their journey towards Bethlehem. The Holy Father referred to this virtue as holy “cunning”.
“It consists of a spiritual shrewdness which enables us to recognize danger and avoid it. The Magi used this light of “cunning” when, on the way back, they decided not to pass by the gloomy palace of Herod, but to take another route.”
The example of the Magi, he continued, teach us to not fall into the trap of darkness and guard our faith.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to follow the example of the Magi, which invites us to lift our gaze towards the heavens and to not be “content with a life of mediocrity.”
“We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe,” he said.
“By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith.” (J.A.E.)