By Deborah Castellano Lubov

May we become witnesses of Christ wherever we are, with a new life, transformed by his love…

Pope Francis encouraged this in his Angelus address today, Jan. 6, 2020, for the Solemnity of the Epiphany. After the Mass for the Solemnity this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis gave his Angelus address at noon and recited the midday prayer with the 50,000 faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

Reflecting on the Wise Men, the Pontiff underscored that they traveled a great deal to find the One who they wished to know, but yet when they finally do, they prostrate themselves before the Child, adoring Him and offering Him, their precious gifts.

Encounter with the Child changed them

Even though they, without delay, set off again afterward to return to their land, that encounter with the Child changed them.

“The encounter with Jesus does not hold back the Magi, on the contrary, it gives them a new push to return to their country, to tell what they saw and the joy they felt.”

“In this, there is one demonstration of the style of God, of His way of manifesting Himself in history. The experience of God is not there to ‘freeze us,’ but rather it frees us; [it] does not imprison us, but puts us back on the road, returns us to the usual places of our existence.”

Changes Us, Transforms

“The places are and will be the same,” he said, “but we are not after the encounter with Jesus
those of before. The encounter with Jesus changes us, transforms us.”

St. Matthew, in his Gospel, describes how the Magi returned “another way,” when they were led to change directions following the angel’s warning, so as not to run into Herod. “Every experience of meeting Jesus,” Francis observed, “leads us to take different paths, because from Him a good force comes that heals the heart and detaches us from evil.”

This episode indicates, for us too, “that we have to change, to transform our way of life
even in the usual environment,” he said.

While idols make us dependent, and hold us back, Francis said: “The true God does not hold us back nor does He allow Himself to be held back by us.” Rather, “He opens ways of novelty and freedom, because He is the Father he is always with us, to grow.”

“If you meet Jesus, if you have a spiritual encounter with Jesus, remember: you must
return to the same places as always, but in another way, with another style,” the Pope said.

“It’s the Holy Spirit, that Jesus gives us, that changes our heart.”

Before greeting various groups present, Pope Francis prayed the Holy Virgin help us “become witnesses of Christ wherever we are, with a new life, transformed by his love.”

Following the midday prayer, the Pope also called for applause for our brothers and sisters from the Oriental and Orthodox Churches who are celebrating Christmas today.

At the end of the Angelus, Pope Francis, as usual, told those present to pray for him, have a good Feast Day and a good lunch.

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