Benedict XVI spoke on the Epiphany of the Lord yesterday during his weekly Sunday Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square.
While for many Eastern Churches January 6 is celebrated as Christmas rather than the Epiphany, the Holy Father noted that this difference, “which superimposes the two moments, makes us see that the Child, born in a grotto in Bethlehem, is the light of the world, who directs the journey of all peoples. It is a combination, which makes us reflect, also from the point of view of faith: on the one hand, looking upon Jesus we see the faith of Mary, of Joseph and the shepherds; today, the Epiphany, we see the faith of the three magi, who came from the East to worship the king of the Jews.”
The magi, the Pope continued, are representative of “the civilizations of the earth, the cultures, the religions that are, so to say, on their way to God, in search of his kingdom of peace, justice, truth and freedom.”
“This faith reaches its fulfillment in Mary, in the fullness of time… Mary’s faith becomes the first fruit and the model of the faith of the Church, the People of the New Covenant. But this people is from the beginning universal, and this we see today in the figures of the magi, who arrive in Bethlehem following the light of a star and the instructions of the Sacred Scriptures.”
Referencing the writings of Saint Leo the Great, Pope Benedict noted that “Mary’s faith can be joined with Abraham’s: it is the new beginning of the same promise, of the same unchanging plan of God that now finds its completion in Christ Jesus. And Christ’s light is so limpid and powerful that it makes the language of the cosmos and that of the Scriptures intelligible so that all those who, like the magi, are open to the truth can recognize it and arrive at the contemplation of the Savior of the world.”