Feast of the Epiphany, Year C

PAPAL MESSAGESTHIS WEEKMONTHLY INTENTIONS

Pope Francis

March 13, 2013 – Present

JANUARY 6, 2019

The Light that was Promised

The Magi were open to ‘novelty’, and history’s greatest and most surprising novelty is revealed to them: God-made-man.  

The light that the Prophet Isaiah had foretold, is present and encountered in the Gospel. And Jesus, born in Bethlehem, the City of David, has come to bring salvation to those near and far: to everyone. Matthew the Evangelist reveals various ways by which one can encounter Christ and react to his presence. For example, Herod and the scribes of Jerusalem have a hard heart, which obstinately refuses the visit of that Child. This is one possibility: to be closed to the light. They represent those who, even in our day, fear Jesus’ coming and close their heart to brothers and sisters who need help. Herod is afraid of losing power and does not consider the true good of the people, but rather his own personal advantage. The scribes and the chief priests of the people are afraid because they do not know how to look beyond their own certainties; they are thus unable to understand the newness that is in Jesus.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 6, 2016

The Magi Rejoiced Exceedingly

The Church has always seen in them the image of humanity as a whole…

When the Magi, the Gospel says, “saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly” (Mt 2:10). For us too, there is great comfort in seeing the star, in other words in feeling guided and not abandoned to our fate. The star is the Gospel, the Word of the Lord, as the Psalm states: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119[118]:105). This light guides us to Christ. Without listening to the Gospel, it is impossible to encounter him! The Wise Men, indeed, by following the star arrived at the place where they found Jesus. Here “they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Mt 2:11). The experience of the Magi exhorts us not to be satisfied with mediocrity, not to “cut corners”, but to seek the meaning of things, to fervently explore the great mystery of life. It teaches us not to be scandalized by smallness and poverty but to recognize majesty in in humility, and to be able to kneel before it.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

homilies

Feast of the Holy Family, Year C

Pope Benedict XVI

April 19, 2005 – February 28, 2013

JANUARY 6, 2013

Let All People Adore the Creator

Today on the Epiphany the faith of the three Magi, come from the East to worship the King of the Jews.

St Leo the Great says: “A promise had been made to the holy Patriarch Abraham in regard to these nations. He was to have a countless progeny, born not from his body but from the seed of faith” (Sermo 3 in Epiphania Domini, 1: PL 54, 240). Mary’s faith can be compared to Abraham’s. It is a new beginning of the same promise, of the same immutable plan of God which now finds fulfilment in Jesus Christ. And the light of Christ is so clear and strong that it makes both the language of the cosmos and of the Scriptures intelligible, so that all those who, like the Magi, are open to the truth can recognize it and come to contemplate the Saviour of the world. St Leo continues: “Let the full number of the nations now take their place in the family of the patriarchs… let all people adore the Creator of the universe; let God be known, not only in Judaea, but in the whole world” (ibid.). In this perspective we can also look at the episcopal ordinations which I had the joy of conferring this morning in St Peter’s Basilica: two new bishops will remain at the service of the Holy See, and the other two will be leaving to serve as Pontifical Representatives to two nations. Let us pray for each one of the them, for their ministry, and that the light of Christ may shine throughout the world.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 6, 2009

“Herod the King was Troubled, and all Jerusalem with Him”

There are various ways in which this reaction can be understood…

The Gospel tells how Jesus came into the world with deep humility and hiddenness. St Matthew, however, mentions the episode of the Wise Men who arrive from the East, guided by a star, to worship the newborn King of the Jews. Every time we hear this account, we are struck by the stark contrast between the attitude of the Magi, on the one hand, and that of Herod and the Jews on the other. In fact, the Gospel says that on hearing the words of the Magi “Herod the king… was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Mt 2: 3). There are various ways in which this reaction can be understood: Herod is alarmed because he sees in the one the Magi were seeking a rival to himself and his children. On the other hand, the elders and inhabitants of Jerusalem seem amazed, rather than anything else, as though they had been woken from a certain lethargy and needed to think. Isaiah had, in reality, foretold: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is 9: 6).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 31, 2006

“We Have Come to Worship Him”

Today, the light of Christ, which was as it were contained in the Grotto of Bethlehem, reaches its full universal importance.

How often we have heard and repeated these words! We cannot hear them now without returning in spirit to that memorable event which was an authentic “epiphany”. Indeed, in its deepest dimension, the youth pilgrimage can be seen as a journey guided by the light of a “star”, the star of faith.

And today, I would like to extend to the whole Church the message I proposed at the time to the young people gathered on the banks of the Rhine:  “Open wide your hearts to God!”, I said to them, and today I repeat to all of you, “Let yourselves be surprised by Christ!… Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace” (Address, Welcome Celebration, Poller Rheinwiesen Wharf, Cologne, 18 August 2005L’Osservatore Romano English edition24 August, p. 4).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

homilies

Feast of the Holy Family, Year C

Pope Saint John Paul II

October 16, 1978 – April 2, 2005

JANUARY 6, 2003

The Universal and Missionary Vocation of the Church

Today, on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Child born in the night of Bethlehem is manifested to the world as the light of salvation for all peoples.

In today’s solemnity emerges the universal and missionary vocation of the Church. She is called to spread throughout the world the light of the Good News, a source of life and renewal for every person and for humanity. This is, especially, the mission of the Apostles and of their successors, the Bishops: this morning, therefore, as in the past, I ordained new Bishops. I renew my cordial greeting to them with their relatives and those who accompany them. I ask everyone to pray for them that they may always be an “epiphany” of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

JANUARY 6, 1996

The Mystery of Christ Revealed

The Church’s missionary activity, through its many stages down the centuries, finds its starting point and universal scope in the feast of Epiphany.

In the second reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul comments with deep wonder on the mystery celebrated in today’s solemnity: “Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation…. the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel (Eph 3:2-3; 5-6). A son of the chosen nation, converted to Christ, Paul came to share in divine Revelation, after the other Apostles, to transmit it to the nations of the whole world. After this great turning point in his life, he understood that all peoples have been chosen as well and that all men are called to salvation because they are “partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (Eph 3:6). Indeed, the light of Christ and the universal call to salvation are meant for the peoples of all the earth. “This character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit” (Lumen gentium, n. 13).

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SOURCE: The Holy See Archive at the Vatican Website © Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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