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God's love, light of truth seek out believers, Pope says at Epiphany

Catholic World News - January 06, 2014

Celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s basilica on the feast of the Epiphany, Pope Francis said that the Magi “teach us how to defend ourselves against the darkness that seeks to envelope our lives.”

In his homily the Pope urged the faithful to follow the example of the three kings, following the lights that are provided to us. He remarked that the Magi had learned from the two great “books” that God had made available to them: the Scriptures and the “book” of nature, which they studied in their research on the stars.

Pope Francis praised the Magi for the “holy cunning” that they showed by leaving Bethlehem without reporting to Herod about the identity of the Christ child. This cunning, he said, enabled them to recognize Herod’s insincerity and avoid putting Jesus in danger.

Later in the day, in his Angelus audience, the Pope observed that if the Magi had not noticed the unusual star, they would never have begun their journey. “Light precedes, us,” he said. “The truth precedes us. God precedes us. It is grace, and this grace appears in Jesus.”

During this midday audience Pope Francis recommended Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives, by his predecessor Benedict XVI, saying that the book “magnificently” captures the significance of the Epiphany, the first “manifestation” of the Messiah to the Gentile world.

Going beyond his prepared text, the Pope continued on his theme of the grace that calls people to God, with an appeal directed to those who “feel far from God and from the Church.” He told such people: “The Lord is calling you to be part of his people, and He does it with great respect and love.” He explained the God never commands, but his love “seeks you and waits for you.”

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