I have read a lot of homilies. And I am a fan of Pope Francis’ homilies. But his homily for the feast of the Epiphany is a banquet of insights and one-liners. He sets a high bar for preachers and prayers.

It is a classic example of unpacking the riches of just one verse from scripture. “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?  For we have observed his star in the East, and have come to worship him” (Mt 2:2).

I offer the following snippets in the hope that they will entice you read this eleven hundred word masterpiece for yourself.

  • The Magi did not set out because they had seen the star, but they saw the star because they had already set out
  • They were guided by an inner restlessness.  They were open to something new.
  • They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts become anesthetized.
  • They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to places not yet evangelized, to encounter their Lord.
  • Nor do they do this out of a sense of superiority, but rather as beggars who cannot ignore the eyes of those who for whom the Good News is still uncharted territory.
  • They had to discover that what they sought was not in a palace, but elsewhere, both existentially and geographically.
  • Herod is unable to worship because he could not or would not change his own way of looking at things.

As I read the following I could not help think of Frederick Ozanam “Let us go to the poor.”

The Magi experienced longing; they were tired of the usual fare.  They were all too familiar with, and weary of, the Herods of their own day.  But there, in Bethlehem, was a promise of newness, of gratuitousness.  There something new was taking place.  The Magi were able to worship, because they had the courage to set out.  And as they fell to their knees before the small, poor and vulnerable Infant, the unexpected and unknown Child of Bethlehem, they discovered the glory of God.

I hope you will not only read the full text yourself but share your thoughts here.

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