Like a rising star (cf. Num 24:17), Jesus comes to enlighten all peoples and illuminate the nights of humanity. With the Magi looking up to heaven, we too ask ourselves today: “Where is the newly born King of the Jews? (Mt 2:2). Where then is the place where we can find and meet our Lord?
From the experience of the Magi we understand that the first “place” where he likes to be sought is the anxiety of questioning. The fascinating adventure of these wise men from the East teaches us that faith is not born of our merits or of theoretical reasoning, but is a gift from God. His grace helps us to wake up from apathy and to make way for the important questions of life, questions that take us out of the presumption of being right and that open us to what is beyond us. Among the Magi, at the beginning, there is this: the anxiety of those who ask themselves questions. Inhabited by a poignant nostalgia for infinity, they scan the sky and let themselves be amazed by the brilliance of a star which represents the tension towards the transcendent which animates the journey of civilizations and the incessant search of our hearts. This star, in fact, leaves in their hearts precisely one question: Where is the one who has just been born?
Brothers and sisters, the journey of faith begins when, with the grace of God, we give way to the restlessness that keeps us awake; when we allow ourselves to be questioned, when we are not satisfied with the tranquility of our habits, but when we challenge ourselves in the challenges of each day; when we stop remaining in a neutral space and decide to inhabit the uncomfortable spaces of life, made up of relationships with others, surprises, unforeseen events, projects to accomplish, dreams to achieve, fears to face, of suffering that hollows out our flesh. In these moments, rise from our hearts these irrepressible questions which open us to the search for God: where is happiness for me? Where is the full life that I yearn for? Where is this love which does not pass, which does not weaken, which does not break, even in the face of fragility, failures and betrayals? What opportunities are hidden in my crises and my sufferings?
But it happens that every day, the climate we breathe offers us “tranquillizers of the soul”, substitutes to calm, to calm our worries and extinguish these questions; from consumer products to the seductions of pleasure, from spectacular debates to the idolatry of well-being; everything seems to tell us: don’t think too much, let it happen, enjoy life! We often try to put our hearts in the safe of comfort – put our hearts in the safe of comfort – but if the Magi had done so, they would never have met the Lord. Calm the heart, calm the soul so that there is no longer any worry: that is the danger. God, on the other hand, dwells in our restless questions; in them, we “seek him as the night seeks the dawn… He is in the silence that troubles us before death and the end of all human greatness; it is in the thirst for justice and love that we carry within us; it is the Holy Mystery which comes to meet the nostalgia of the Wholly Other, nostalgia for perfect and consummate justice, for reconciliation and peace” (1). Here, then, is the first place: the anxiety of questioning. Do not be afraid to enter into this anxiety of questions: these are precisely the paths that lead us to Jesus.
The second place where we can meet the Lord is the risk of the journey. Questions, including spiritual ones, can indeed induce frustration and desolation if they do not set us going, if they do not direct our interior movement towards the face of God and the beauty of his Word. The pilgrimage of the Magi, “Their exterior pilgrimage – said Benedict XVI – was an expression of their interior journey, of the interior pilgrimage of their hearts” (2). Indeed, the Magi do not stop to look at the sky and contemplate the light of the star, but they venture on a risky journey that does not plan in advance safe routes or defined maps. They want to know who the King of the Jews is, where he was born, where they can find him. For this they ask Herod who, in turn, summons the leaders of the people and the scribes who question the Scriptures. The Magi are on the march: most of the verbs describing their actions are verbs of movement.
It is the same for our faith: without a continuous journey and a constant dialogue with the Lord, without listening to the Word, without perseverance, it cannot grow. A few ideas about God and a few prayers that soothe the conscience are not enough; we must become disciples in following Jesus and his Gospel, speak to him about everything in prayer, seek him in daily situations and in the faces of our brothers and sisters. From Abraham setting out for an unknown land to the Magi moving behind the star, faith is a walk, faith is a pilgrimage, faith is a story of departures and new beginnings. We never forget: faith is a journey, a pilgrimage, a story of departures and new beginnings. Remember this: faith does not grow if it remains static; we cannot lock it up in a personal devotion nor confine it within the walls of the churches, but we must carry it outside, live it in a constant journey towards God and towards the brothers. Let us ask ourselves today: am I walking towards the Lord of life, so that he becomes the Lord of my life? Jesus, who are you to me? Where are You calling me to go, what are You asking of my life? What choices are You inviting me to make for others?
Finally, after the anxiety of the questioning and the risk of the journey, the third place where to meet the Lord is the wonder of worship. After a long journey and a laborious search, the Magi entered the house, “they saw the child with Mary his mother; and falling at his feet, they worshiped him” (v. 11). This is the decisive point: our concerns, our questions, our spiritual paths and our practices of faith must converge in the adoration of the Lord. There they find their center of gravity, because everything is born from there, for it is the Lord who arouses feelings, actions and works in us. Everything is born from there and everything culminates there, because the goal of everything is not to achieve a personal goal or to receive glory for oneself, but to encounter God and let oneself be embraced by his love, which founds our hope, which frees us from evil, which opens us to the love of others, which makes us people capable of building a more just and fraternal world. There is no point in activating ourselves pastorally if we do not put Jesus at the center, adoring him. The wonder of worship. There we learn to stand before God not so much to ask or do something, but only to stop in silence and surrender to his love, to let ourselves be grasped and regenerated by his mercy. And we pray many times, we ask for things, we reflect…but usually we miss the prayer of adoration. We have lost the sense of adoration, because we have lost the anxiety of questions and we have lost the courage to advance in the risks of the path. Today the Lord invites us to do like the Magi: like the Magi, let us prostrate ourselves, abandon ourselves to God in the wonder of adoration. Let us worship God and not our self; let us adore God and not the false idols which seduce us with the charm of prestige and power; with the charm of misinformation; we adore God so as not to bow before passing things and the seductive but empty logics of evil.
Brothers, sisters, let us open our hearts to concern, ask for the courage to move forward on the path and end in adoration! Let’s not be afraid, it’s the journey of the Magi, it’s the journey of all the saints in history: to receive concerns, to set out and adore. Brothers and sisters, let us not let the restlessness of questioning die out in us; let us not stop our march by yielding to apathy or comfort; and, meeting the Lord, let us abandon ourselves to the wonder of adoration. Then we will discover that a light illuminates even the darkest nights: it is Jesus, it is the radiant morning star, the sun of justice, the merciful radiance of God, who loves every man and every people of Earth.
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