Pope Francis: The Three Kings found God in poverty

 

Celebrations for the Solemnity of the Epiphany in St. Peter’s Square on Jan. 6, 2023. / Vatican Media. See CNA article for full slideshow. 

Vatican City, Jan 6, 2023 / 05:20 am (CNA).

In his Angelus address for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis said that the Three Kings teach us to discover God in poverty, humility, and silence.

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.

Pope Francis with some special visitors at the general audience, Dec. 21, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis with some special visitors at the general audience, Dec. 21, 2022. Vatican Media

In his reflection on the feast, the pope commented that the Magi perhaps “were expecting a powerful and prodigious Messiah,” but instead they found a baby and “met God in poverty.”

He said that the Wise Men “welcome God’s surprise and experience their encounter with him with amazement, adoring him – in his littleness, they recognize God’s face.”

“Humanly, we are all inclined to seek greatness, but it is a gift to know how to truly find it – to know how to find greatness in the littleness that God loves,” Pope Francis said.

“For the Lord is encountered like this: in humility, in silence, in adoration, in the smallest, and in the poor.”

The Solemnity of the Epiphany 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.

Celebrations for the Solemnity of the Epiphany outside of the Vatican on Jan. 6, 2023. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN
Celebrations for the Solemnity of the Epiphany outside of the Vatican on Jan. 6, 2023. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN

Epiphany is a national holiday in Italy. According to the Vatican Gendarmerie, about 60,000 people were present in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus.

Italian pilgrims gathered at the Vatican for the pope’s Angelus message celebrated the solemnity with costumes, music, decorative banners, and a small parade in the street leading up to St. Peter’s Square.

Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis thanked the parade participants and said that he was also thinking of the many Three Kings parades taking place in Poland for the feast.

Celebrations for the Solemnity of Epiphany outside of the Vatican on Jan. 6, 2023. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN
Celebrations for the Solemnity of Epiphany outside of the Vatican on Jan. 6, 2023. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN

Pope Francis said that the Magi reveal how “God calls us through our aspirations and our greatest desires.”

“The Magi allowed themselves to be amazed and discomforted by the novelty of the star and they set out on a journey toward the unknown. Wise and educated, they were fascinated more by what they did not know than by what they knew. They felt called to go beyond,” he said.

“This is important for us as well – we are called not to be satisfied, to seek the Lord by stepping out of our comfort zone, journeying toward him with others, immersing ourselves in reality. For God calls every day, here and now, in our world.”

At the end of the Angelus, Pope Francis extended his greetings to the Oriental Churches that will celebrate Christmas Day on January 7. The pope also asked people to pray for “the battered population of Ukraine.”

At the pope's Angelus address on Jan. 6, 2023, some pilgrims held up a banner calling for the late Benedict XVI to be named a Doctor of the Church. Vatican Media
At the pope’s Angelus address on Jan. 6, 2023, some pilgrims held up a banner calling for the late Benedict XVI to be named a Doctor of the Church. Vatican Media

Earlier on Friday, Pope Francis presided over a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the Epiphany solemnity.

In his homily, the pope encouraged Catholics not to be sedated by the many “tranquilizers of the soul” offered today, like “non-stop media” and “empty promises of pleasure.”

“Often we try to soothe our hearts with creature comforts. … If the Magi had done that, they would never have encountered the Lord,” Francis said.

“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,” he said.


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3 Comments

  1. Is this an example of an INSIDE SCOOP, imagination gone wild (a la Walt Disney), words and ideas based on objective facts of Scripture and Tradition, or is this something completely other?

    According to tenets of modern psychology, speaking the mind of others (projection) often occurs because one has little regard for one’s own.

    “The Magi allowed themselves to be amazed and discomforted by the novelty of the star and they set out on a journey toward the unknown. Wise and educated, they were fascinated more by what they did not know than by what they knew. They felt called to go beyond,” he [Francis] said.

  2. By the time the Magi reach the Holy Family, the Family is in a house, no longer in a stable or cave. I believe the experience for the Magi is similar to that for the shepherds in the field, something of the Glory of Heaven is shown and their “sense of expectation” in things beyond this life is affirmed, for now and for the future. The words chosen for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, like “swaddling”, suggest a rich tapestry, of fulfillment, joy, wholeness, promise, gladness, simplicity. And they are all sweetly mixed, in ways for which the gifts of the Magi and the wonderment of the shepherds shared with the Holy Family, run like metaphor.

    God be praised. Rich or poor we can offer what we have.

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