To follow Jesus, one must set out like the Magi, leaving comfort behind, following the light and offering the Lord gifts without expecting anything in return, Pope Francis said on Saturday 6th January during Mass on the feast of the Epiphany.
In his homily, the pope asked people to think about the Gospel story of the Three Kings and why no-one else seemed to see and follow the star to Bethlehem.
Perhaps, he said, it was because “few people raised their eyes to heaven.” Today, too, people think it is enough “to have our health, a little money and a bit of entertainment. I wonder if we still know how to look up at the sky. Do we know how to dream, to long for God, to expect the newness he brings, or do we let ourselves be swept along by life, like dry branches in the wind?”
At the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis asked people to think about what star they choose to follow in their lives.
“Some stars may be bright, but they do not point the way. So it is with success, money, career, honours and pleasures when these become our life,” he said. They are like meteors, blazing for a time, but burning out.
“The Lord’s star, however, may not always overwhelm by its brightness, but it is always there: it takes you by the hand in life and accompanies you,” he said. “It does not promise material reward, but ensures peace and grants, as it did to the Magi, ‘exceedingly great joy.'”
Following the star, he said, requires freeing oneself “from useless burdens and unnecessary extras that only prove a hindrance, and accept unforeseen obstacles along the map of life.”
“If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life,” the pope said.
Picture: Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus at the conclusion of Mass marking the feast of the Epiphany in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Saturday 6th January. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).