On the Epiphany
"The Wise Men Are the First Fruits of the Gentiles"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered Saturday, the solemnity of the Epiphany, before reciting the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates Christ's manifestation to the Wise Men, an event to which St. Matthew attaches great importance (cf. Matthew 2:1-12). He narrates in his Gospel that some "Wise Men" -- probably Persian religious leaders -- arrived in Jerusalem guided by a "star," a luminous heavenly phenomenon interpreted by them as a sign of the birth of the new king of the Jews.
No one in the city knew anything; what is more, Herod, the king on the throne, was very disturbed by the news and conceived the tragic plan of the "killing of the innocents" to eliminate the newly born rival. The Wise Men, on the contrary, allowed themselves to be guided by the sacred Scriptures, in particular, by Micah's prophecy, according to which, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David, located some 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem (cf. 5:2). Following that direction, they saw the star again and, full of joy, followed it until it paused above a hovel. They entered and saw the Child with Mary; they prostrated themselves before him and, in homage to his royal dignity, offered him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Why is this event so important? Because with it began the adherence of the pagan peoples to faith in Christ, according to the promise that God had made to Abraham, to which the book of Genesis makes reference: "all the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you" (Genesis 12:3). Just as Mary, Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem represent the people of Israel that received the Lord, so the Wise Men are the first fruits of the gentiles, also called to form part of the Church, new people of God, which is no longer based on ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity, but only on common faith in Jesus, Son of God.
For this reason, Christ's epiphany is at the same time, the Church's epiphany, that is, the manifestation of her vocation and universal mission. In this context, I joyfully address a cordial greeting to the beloved brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches that, following the Julian Calendar, celebrate Holy Christmas tomorrow: I affectionately wish them abundance of Christian peace and prosperity.
I like to recall, moreover, that on the occasion of Epiphany, the World Day of Missionary Children is observed. It is the feast of Christian children who live joyfully the gift of faith and pray that the light of Jesus will reach all the children of the world.
I thank the children of "Holy Childhood," present in 110 countries, as they are precious cooperators of the Gospel and apostles of Christian solidarity in favor of the neediest. I encourage educators to cultivate in little ones the missionary spirit, so that impassioned missionaries will arise among them, witnesses of God's tenderness and proclaimers of his love.
We now turn to the Virgin Mary, star of evangelization: That through her intercession Christians throughout the world may live as children of the light and lead men to Christ, authentic light of the world.
[At the end of the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus. The celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord invites us to contemplate Jesus as the divine Savior, the light that guides us on our journey to eternity. May Christians everywhere draw nearer to Christ, pay homage to him in word and deed, and share joyfully with others the saving light of the Gospel! I wish you all a pleasant stay in Rome!
© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Pope, Benedict, Epiphany, Angelus
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 27
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 26th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 26
- Daily Readings for Saturday, March 25, 2017
- 'Living Lent': Saturday of the Third Week of Lent - Day 25
- St. Dismas: Saint of the Day for Saturday, March 25, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 27th, 2017 HD
- Adorable girl captured stealing Pope Francis' hat in hilarious footage HD
- Cause of cancer detected from unexpected and unpreventable element HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 25th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.