Pope Francis with some special visitors at the general audience, Dec. 21, 2022 / Vatican Media
Vatican City, Jan 6, 2023 / 03:00 am (CNA).
On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis said that if the Magi had remained comfortable, they never would have encountered the Lord in Bethlehem.
In his homily for the Church’s celebration of the Three Kings on Jan. 6, the pope warned that today’s world is full of “tranquilizers of the soul” and “empty promises of pleasure.”
Francis said that from endless consumerism to “non-stop media controversies” and the “idolatry of fitness,” everything today “seems to tell us: ‘Don’t overthink things. Let go and enjoy life.”
“Often we try to soothe our hearts with creature comforts. … If the Magi had done that, they would never have encountered the Lord,” he commented.
Pope Francis underlined that God however is found in “restless questioning” and seeking the answers to life’s bigger questions like, “Where do I find a love that does not fade away, a love that endures even in the face of frailty, failure, and betrayal? What hidden opportunities are present in the midst of my crises and my sufferings?”
The pope quoted an Epiphany homily by the late Benedict XVI, whose funeral he presided over yesterday.
“Benedict XVI said of the Magi: ‘Their outward pilgrimage was the expression of their inward journey, the inner pilgrimage of their hearts,’” Francis said, quoting his predecessor’s 2013 homily for Epiphany.
Pope Francis prays at the Epiphany Mass on Jan. 6, 2023. Alan Koppschall/CNA
The Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Magi — also known as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings — who came with gifts to worship the Child Jesus shortly after his birth.
The solemnity is traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6, but Catholic dioceses in the United States mark the feast on the Sunday that falls between Jan. 2-8. U.S. Catholics will celebrate the Epiphany this year on Jan. 8.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle served as the main celebrant of the Liturgy of the Eucharist for the Epiphany Mass with Pope Francis offering the homily.
In his homily, Pope Francis said that the Magi’s restless questioning and continuous journeying in dialogue with the Lord finds its end in the worship of God.
“The purpose of everything is not to achieve a personal goal or to receive glory for ourselves, but to encounter God. To let ourselves be enveloped by his love, which is the basis of our hope, which sets us free from evil, opens our hearts to love others, and makes us a people capable of building a more just and fraternal world,” Pope Francis said.
Families representing nations around the world brought up the gifts at the Epiphany Mass. Alan Koppschall/CNA
The pope said that all pastoral activities “will be fruitless unless we put Jesus at their center and fall down in worship before him.”
“Like the Magi, let us fall down and entrust ourselves to God in the wonder of worship. Let us worship God, not ourselves; let us worship God and not the false idols that seduce by the allure of prestige and power … let us love God and not bow down before passing things and evil thoughts, seductive yet hollow and empty.”