Don't Fear Jesus, Benedict XVI Exhorts

Invites "Wise Men" of Today to Face the Light of Christ

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged non-Christians to be unafraid of Christ, explaining that the message of Christ is nothing to fear.



"Christ is light and light cannot darken, but only illuminate, clarify and reveal," the Pope said. "Therefore, let no one fear Christ and his message!"

In today's homily for the solemnity of the Epiphany, the Holy Father asked who the "wise men" are in today's era of globalization?

The Pontiff likened those figures from the East, which the Church perceives as representatives of the world that must be evangelized, to today's "rulers," men of "thought and science," and leaders of non-Christian religions.

Benedict XVI invited them, in particular religious leaders, "to face the light of Christ, who did not come to abolish but to bring to fulfillment what God has written in the religious histories of civilizations, especially in 'great souls' that have contributed to edify humanity with wisdom and their examples of virtue."

"And, if in the course of history, Christians, being limited and sinful men, on occasions have been able to betray him with their conduct, this still highlights even more the light of Christ which the Church only reflects by remaining united to him," the Pope said.

After the Mass, before praying the Angelus with those gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square, the Pontiff explained the importance of the adoration of the Wise Men, whom the Pope indicated were probably Persian religious leaders.

"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," the Holy Father said.

"Christ's epiphany is at the same time the Church's epiphany," Benedict XVI continued, "that is, the manifestation of her vocation and universal mission."