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Pope Francis speaks of taking risks, leaving comfort zone during Epiphany mass

By Susan McFarland
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Pope Francis speaks of taking risks, leaving comfort zone during Epiphany mass
Pope Francis (C, on pedestal) leads the Epiphany mass Saturday in the Saint Peters Basilica in the Vatican City. Photo by Guiseppe Lami/EPA-EFE

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- At the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis encouraged Christians to not wait for things to happen but instead to do good "even when unasked."

Nearly 1.3 million worshipers gathered for the mass, marking the feast of Epiphany, a day Christians observe to recognize the three wise men who followed a star to find the baby Jesus.

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The Pope said the three wise men, traditionally called the Magi, saw the star leading to baby Jesus' manger because they were among the few who raised their eyes to the heavens. He called Christians to be like the Magi and continue to look upward and get rid of fear.

"If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life," Francis said.

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The Pope stressed not just being satisfied with the status quo of "just getting by ... keeping afloat."

"We often make do with looking at the ground: it's enough to have our health, a little money and a bit of entertainment," he said. "I wonder if we still know how to look up at the sky. Do we know how to dream, to long for God, to expect the newness he brings, or do we let ourselves be swept along by life, like dry branches before the wind?"

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The pontiff also asked those listening which star they have chosen to follow, noting some are bright but do not point the way.

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"So it is with success, money, career, honors and pleasures when these become our life," he said, adding they are meteors that "blaze momentarily," but quickly burn out and fade away.

Francis urged listeners to be selfless and closed his homily by inviting people to think of a gift to give someone without expecting anything in return.

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