Today, almost at the end of the Christmas season, our attention shifts to the Magi who arrive in Bethlehem. Most probably they were astrologers or ancient philosophers who took their cue from the natural phenomena of the heavens. Because they were wealthy enough to have camels and able to travel a long distance, they have come to be thought of as prosperous kings. Wherever they came from and whatever gifts they brought, they opened their hearts, their treasure, their very lives to this newborn Jewish child.

The Scripture readings this season speak to us about relationship—about the possibility that God could and in fact does love each one of us so powerfully and so personally. Along with God’s steadfast love, we also experience the invitation to manifest the Lord’s life and love to one another as we travel about this world . . . using our time and talents, our leadership and love to make a difference in the Lord’s name.

Simple? Perhaps. But certainly never easy, for always involved is that very real risk of relationship with those we live with and work with. Here is where the words of Pope Francis can help. Notice how frequently he invites us to show mercy, to bring understanding, to share love…especially to those who genuinely need such gifts in their lives. May God bless us all throughout 2014 as we take up this Epiphany challenge.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team