In the Vatican Basilica, after the celebration of Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord ended, at 12 noon the Holy Father Francis appeared at the study window in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Before the recitation, Pope Francis shared the following word with all present. Below is the full text of Pope Francis Speech.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
We celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany, in memory of the Magi who came from the East to Bethlehem, following the star, to visit the newborn Messiah. At the end of the Gospel story, the Magi are said to have been “warned in a dream not to return to Herod, by another way they returned to their country” (v. 12). For another way.
These wise people, coming from distant regions, after travelling a lot, find the one who wished to know, after having searched for him for a long time, certainly also with hardships and vicissitudes. And when they finally reach their goal, they prostrate themselves before the Child, adore him, offer him their precious gifts. After which they set off again without delay to return to their land. But that meeting with the Child changed them.
The encounter with Jesus does not hold back the Magi, on the contrary, it infuses them with a new push to return to their country, to tell what they have seen and the joy they have felt. In this, there is a demonstration of the style of God, of his way of manifesting himself in history.
The experience of God does not block us, but frees us; it does not imprison us, but puts us back on the road, returns us to the usual places of our existence.
The places are and will be the same, but we, after the encounter with Jesus, are not the same as before. The encounter with Jesus changes us, transforms us. Matthew the evangelist stresses that the Magi returned “by another the way” (v. 12).
They are led to change direction by the angel’s warning, so as not to run into Herod and his plots of power. Each experience of meeting with Jesus leads us to take different paths because from him comes to a good force that heals the heart and detaches us from evil.
There is a wise dynamic between continuity and novelty: you return “to your country”, but “by another way”. This indicates that it is we who have to change, to transform our way of life even in the usual environment, to change the criteria for judging the reality around us.
Here is the difference between the true God and the treacherous idols, such as money, power, success …; between God and those who promise to give you these idols, like magicians, fortune tellers, sorcerers.
The difference is that idols bind us to themselves, make us idol-dependent, and we take possession of them. The true God neither holds us back nor lets himself be held back by us: he opens up ways of novelty and freedom because He is the Father who is always with us to make us grow.
If you meet Jesus, if you have a spiritual encounter with Jesus, remember: you must go back to the same places as always, but in another way, with another style. It is so, it is the Holy Spirit, which Jesus gives us, which changes our heart. We ask the Holy Virgin that we can become witnesses of Christ where we are, with a new life transformed by his love.
Source: Augustus Aikins // Radio Angelus