By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on the Solemnity of the Epiphany.
He reflected on the manifestation of Jesus, which is symbolized by light.
The prophets in the Old Testament promised this light, he said. “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you” (Is 60:1).
Light of Bethlehem
Isaiah’s prophecy is surprising, the Pope said, because it came after the Israelites came back from exile to find Jerusalem in ruins.
Pope Francis said we are encouraged to let the light of Bethlehem reach us.
With Jesus’ birth, the light foretold by Isaiah is “present and encountered in the Gospel.” He said salvation comes for all people.
Fear or openness?
The day’s Gospel shows two ways to respond to Jesus’ presence: fear or openness.
“Herod is afraid of losing power and does not think about the true good of the people, but about his own personal gain.”
The Magi, Pope Francis said, are open to the “newness” of the Messiah. They let themselves be guided by the star and braved a long and risky journey. “To them is revealed the greatest and most surprising newness of history: God made man.”
Perseverance and generosity
He said the Magi adore Jesus and offer him gifts, giving an example of perseverance and generosity of heart.
“And finally, they returned ‘to their country’, carrying within themselves the mystery of that humble and poor King.”
Pope Francis said they surely told everyone they knew about “the salvation offered by God in Christ, which is for all people.”
Finally, the Pope invited us to be enlightened by Christ.
“Let us not allow fear to close our hearts, but let us have the courage to open ourselves up to this gentle and discreet light.”