Vatican City, 6 January 2015 (VIS) – At noon, after the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“In today's Gospel,” he began, “the story of the Magi who came to Bethlehem from the East to adore the Messiah confers upon the feast of Epiphany an air of universality. This air is the breath of the Church, who desires all the peoples of the earth to encounter Jesus and to experience his merciful love. This is the Church's wish: that all may find Jesus' mercy, his love. The new-born Christ does not yet know how to speak and yet people of all the nations—represented by the Magi—can already meet him, recognize him, worship him. The Magi say: 'We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage'.”
“...The Magi were prestigious men, from distant lands and different cultures, and they had journeyed toward Israel to worship the king who had been born. The Church has always seen in them an image of all of humanity and, with today's celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, it wants to respectfully show every man and woman of this world the Child who was born for the salvation of all. On Christmas Eve, Jesus revealed himself to shepherds, humble and unappreciated men—some say robbers. They were the first to bring a little warmth into that cold grotto in Bethlehem. Now the Magi come from distant lands, also mysteriously attracted by that Child. The shepherds and the Magi are very different from one another but one thing unites them: the sky.”
“...The shepherds and the Magi teach us that, to encounter Jesus, it is necessary to know how to raise our gaze to the heavens, and not be turned in on ourselves, on our own selfishness, but to have our hearts and minds open to the horizon of God, which always surprises us, and to know how to welcome its message and respond promptly and generously. The Magi, the Gospel says, 'were overjoyed at seeing the star'. Even for us there is great consolation in seeing the star, namely in feeling guided and not abandoned to our fate. The star is the Gospel, the Word of the Lord that, as the psalm says, 'is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path'. This light guides us towards Christ. Without listening to the Gospel it is not possible to encounter him.”
“The Magi,” he added, “following the star, came to the place where Jesus was. And there 'they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage'. The experience of the Magi urges us not to be content with mediocrity, not to 'just get along' but to seek out the meaning of things, passionately scrutinizing the great mystery of life. It teaches us not to be scandalized by smallness and poverty, but to recognize the majesty of humility and to know how to kneel before it. May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Magi to Bethlehem, help us to lift our gaze from ourself and to be guided by the star of the Gospel so that we might meet Jesus and know how to humble ourselves in order to worship him. In that way we can bring a ray of its light to others and share the joy of the journey with them.”