Jesus reveals himself to all the nations in a gentle light that shines in humble love.
Pope Francis made that remark in his homily on Sunday, as he reflected on the Epiphany of the Lord. “Epiphany”, he noted, indicates the manifestation of the Lord. “The symbol of this event is light, which reaches and enlightens everything.”
He said the manner in which God revealed Himself is surprising. The Gospels contrast the powerful of the earth and their palaces with the humble abode where Jesus is born. “None of the powerful of the time realized that the Lord of history was born exactly in their days,” he said.
“Herein lies the surprise: God does not emerge at the forefront of the world in order to manifest Himself.”
Power or love
Pope Francis said we might be tempted to shine the spotlight on the illustrious men of Jesus’ time. We might think it would have been better if Jesus was born in Rome, so that “the whole empire would have immediately become Christian.”
But, he said, God does not go to those who shine with their own light. “God offers Himself, He does not impose Himself; He enlightens, but He does not dazzle.”
The Holy Father said we often think we are working for the Gospel when we chase after the limelight. But, he noted, God’s “gentle light shines in humble love.”
Pope Francis said the Church is not “the sun of humanity”. Rather, it is “the moon, which, despite its shadows, reflects the true light, which is the Lord: He is the light of the world.”
Stay or go
God’s light, he said, “shines in those who are willing to receive it.” So we have to get up and walk, unlike the scribes Herod consulted who knew where the Messiah was born but did not go and see.
The Magi are our guides, he said. They take a different path, “the way of humble love.” They left their homes to become pilgrims along God’s path. “For, only those who leave their worldly possessions behind and set off on the path find the mystery of God.”9