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Magi's journey reflects people's longing for God, pope says on Epiphany


  • Pope Francis leads the Angelus from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus as the start of a Mass marking the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Reenactors dressed as soldiers participate in the annual parade marking the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • People in traditional attire endure cold weather during the annual parade marking the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Clowns are seen in St. Peter's Square during the annual parade marking the feast of the Epiphany at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • People in traditional attire endure cold weather during the annual parade marking the feast of the Epiphany in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Magi had the courage to set out on a journey in the hope of finding something new, unlike Herod who was full of himself and unwilling to change his ways, Pope Francis said.

The Wise Men who set out from the East in search of Jesus personify all those who long for God and reflect "all those who in their lives have let their hearts be anesthetized," the pope said Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany.

"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 gratuity," he said.

Thousands of people were gathered in St. Peter's Basilica as the pope entered to the sounds of the choir singing "Angels we have heard on high" in Latin. Before taking his place in front of the altar, the pope stood in front of a statue of baby Jesus, spending several minutes in veneration before kissing it.

The pope said that the Magi adoring the newborn king highlight two specific actions: seeing and worshipping.

Seeing the star of Bethlehem did not prompt them to embark on their journey but rather, "they saw the star because they had already set out," he said.

"Their hearts were open to the horizon and they could see what the heavens were showing them, for they were guided by an inner restlessness. They were open to something new," the pope said.

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