Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Gospel presents three attitudes with which the coming of Jesus and his manifestation to the world were received: careful searching, indifference, fear.
The Magi do not hesitate to set out to search for the Messiah. When they reach Jerusalem they ask: "Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage". They have made a long journey and now they conduct a careful search to discover where the newborn King can be found. In Jerusalem they turn to King Herod, who asks the chief priests and scribes to inquire about the place where the Messiah was to be born.
This careful search of the Magi contrasts with the indifference of the high priests and scribes. They know the Scriptures and are able to give the right answer regarding the place of His birth: "In Bethlehem of Judea, because this is what the prophet wrote", but they do not bother to go and visit the Messiah. Bethlehem is only a few kilometers away, but they do not move.
Even more negative is the attitude of Herod: he is afraid that the Child will take away his power. He calls the Magi and has them tell him when the star appeared to them, then he sends them to Bethlehem saying: "Go and find out all about the child and, when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage". In reality, Herod wants to know where the child is, not to do him homage, but to eliminate him, because he considers him a rival. See how fear provokes hypocrisy. Hypocrites are the way they are because they have fear in their hearts.
These are the three attitudes we find in the Gospel: careful searching, indifference, fear. And we too must choose which of the three to adopt.
Selfishness can lead us to consider the coming of Jesus in our lives as a threat. So we try to suppress or silence Jesus’ message. When we follow human ambitions, the most comfortable perspectives, the inclinations of evil, we perceive Jesus as an obstacle.
On the other hand, the temptation of indifference is always present. Even if we know that Jesus is the Saviour, we prefer to live as if He were not: instead of behaving coherently with our Christian faith, we follow the rules of the world, which tend to satisfy our inclination to arrogance, our thirst for power and money.
Instead, we are called to follow the example of the Magi: to be careful in our search, ready to go out of our way to meet Jesus in our lives. Search for him in order to worship him, to recognize that He is our Lord, the One who indicates the true way to follow. If we have this attitude, Jesus really saves us, and we can live a beautiful life, we can grow in faith, hope and love for God and our brothers and sisters.
We invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the star of pilgrim humanity in time. With her maternal help, may every person find Christ, the Light of Truth, and may the world go forward along the path of justice and peace.
Remarks after the Angelus
Following the Angelus Prayer, the Pope greeted different groups present in St Peter’s Square. Here is the full text of his remarks:
Dear brothers and sisters.
Some Eastern, Catholic and Orthodox Churches celebrate Christmas at this time. I greet especially the Orthodox Copts and my Brother Tawadros whom I congratulate on the joyous occasion of the inauguration of the new Cathedral in Cairo. I extend my best wishes to all these Churches: may this joyful celebration be a source of new spiritual vigor and communion among all of us Christians, who recognize Him as our Lord and Saviour.
Epiphany is marks Youth Mission Day, which this year invites young missionaries to make the gaze of Jesus their own, so that it may guide of their commitment to prayer, fraternity and sharing with needy young people of their age.
I extend my cordial greeting to all of you, individual pilgrims, families, parish groups and associations, coming from Italy and different countries. In particular, I greet the faithful of Lavello and those of San Martino in Rio, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, and the confirmation candidates from Bonate Sotto and Romano di Lombardia.
A greet especially the historical-folklore parade that promotes the values of Epiphany and that this year is dedicated to the territory of the Prenestini Mountains. I would also like to mention the procession of the Magi that takes place in many places in Poland and that sees the great participation of families and associations.
I wish everyone a happy feast-day. Please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!