Pope on Epiphany: Like the Magi may we dream, seek and adore
By Vatican News staff writer
In his homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis spoke about the pilgrimage of the Magi going to Bethlehem and what motivated them.
He recalled that they were wise men, famous and wealthy, yet they let themselves be unsettled by desiring to find the Christ Child and the sign of the star guiding them. They were filled with expectation, he noted, and "seekers after God."
This "spirit of healthy restlessness" was "born of desire," the Pope noted, saying their secret was this capacity to "fuel the fire that burns within us," looking beyond the immediate and visible.
Following our heart's desire
The Pope cited the painter Vincent Van Gogh, who described his need for God as so strong as to drive him outside at night to paint the stars.
That is how God made us, he added, "brimming with desire, directed, like the Magi, towards the stars."
He noted as well how "we are what we desire," and this desire for God enlarges our gaze, strengthens our faith and moves us to serve Him, our brothers and sisters, and the common good.
The Church needs this deep desire and zeal that should animate our journey of life and faith, the Pope noted. It is good that we question how our journey of faith is going, and whether our religious practice still "warms our hearts and changes our lives."
We need to be "startled by Jesus and by the explosive and unsettling joy of the Gospel," he added, noting how the crisis of faith in our lives and society is also due to the "eclipse of desire for God."
'School of desire'
Pope Francis challenged us to ask ourselves if our hearts still burn with desire for God, our have the habits and difficulties of our lives extinguished this flame. But today we can always return rekindle this flame, also by looking to the example of the Magi and their "school of desire."
First, he noted how the Magi ask questions.
Often this happens with more questions than answers, the Pope observed, and it is alright to be unsettled by the many questions, doubts, hopes and desires we face, the important thing is to ask and be open to them.
The Pope then noted how the Magi, in defying Herod by not returning to him to tell him where they found the Christ child, demonstrated great courage and prophetic faith, unafraid to challenge worldly power and evil.
'Creativity of the Spirit'
Finally, he noted how in their return home "by another way," they challenge us as well to take new paths, to be open to the "creativity of the Spirit."
In conclusion, Pope Francis said we need to recover our "taste" for adoration so our desire for God may be rekindled, as we must wish to be in His presence. "Jesus alone heals our desire," he added, and elevating them, and purifying them of selfishness so we can love truly God and neighbor.