On Solemnity of Epiphany

Manifestation of Jesus as Light and Salvation Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before the midday recitation of the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today, solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Infant born at night in Bethlehem manifests himself to the world as light of salvation for all peoples. The Gospel of St. Matthew narrates that several Magi came from the East, adored the Child and offered him symbolic gifts: gold to the King, incense to God, and myrrh to the Man who will be buried.

To this episode, the Church Fathers soon associated two others, in which Jesus manifested his glory: the baptism in the River Jordan and the wedding of Cana.

These two events of the life of Christ are part of the new cycle of mysteries of the rosary -- the mysteries of light -- proposed recently for the meditation of all the faithful. Therefore, we contemplate with Mary's eyes these mysteries of the Epiphany of the Lord, light and salvation of the world.

2. In today's solemnity emerges the universal and missionary vocation of the Church. The latter is called to spread in the world the light of the Good News, source of life and renewal for every person and for humanity. This is, in particular, the task of the apostles and of their successors, the bishops: because of this, this morning, as in the past, I wished to ordain several new bishops. I renew my cordial greetings to the latter, as well as to their relatives and all those who accompany them. I invite everyone to pray for them, so that they will always be an "epiphany" of Christ, Way, Truth and Life.

3. The Gospel narrates that a star guided the Magi to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem. The ancient prophecies compared the future Messiah to a heavenly star. This emblem was also attributed to Mary: If Christ is the star that leads to God, Mary is the star that leads to Jesus.

Today we entrust to her maternal protection the new bishops and the whole Christian people. In a special way, I invite you to pray for the beloved brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who, following the Julian calendar, celebrate Christmas in these days. May the Lord, born for us from the Virgin Mother, bring serenity and peace to all these ecclesial communities.

[Translation by ZENIT]