Pope Francis had some heartfelt advice for people on the Feast of the Epiphany Jan. 6.

In his homily at Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, he said we shouldn’t make the pursuit of money, a career or worldly success the purpose of our lives.

Later, from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, he also urged us to resist “the inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power and for riches.”

If his words weren’t a full-throated endorsement of S3 Jesus-like Leadership, it’s obvious we are on the same page with it comes to matters of personal development.

Two-edged sword

If his words were a clear warning against the dangers of being overly ambitious, he also issued a warning against the dangers of complacency.

He said people "often make do" with having "health, a little money and a bit of entertainment." But there’s more to life than that – and he urged people to extend themselves to help the poor and others in need of assistance, giving freely without expecting anything in return.

What star will we choose?

The pope’s comments came on the day Catholics and many other Christians observe the feast that marks a visit to the baby Jesus by three wise men who follow a star to find him.

Pope Francis used the occasion to ask about "what star we have chosen to follow in our lives."

He explained: "Some stars may be bright, but do not point the way. So it is with success, money, career, honors and pleasures when these become our lives."  Such a path won't ensure either peace or joy, he said.

Instead of indulging our inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power and for riches," Pope Francis prayed that "the world makes progress down the path of justice and of peace."

Acknowledging Eastern churches

Pope Francis noted that some Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox churches were celebrating Christmas on the weekend that Western Christians celebrated the Epiphany. To them he said: "May this glorious celebration be a source of new spiritual vigor and of communion among us Christians."


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