Sunday, January 06, 2008

Angelus: Gospel guides men to God


~translation via Papa Ratzinger Forum

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we celebrate with joy the Epiphany of the Lord - his manifestation to the peoples of the entire world, represented by the Magi who came from the East to render homage to the King of the Jews.

Observing the celestial phenomena, these mysterious personages saw a new star rise and, knowing the ancient prophecies, they recognized in it the sign of the birth of the Messiah, descendant of David (cfr Mt 2,1-12).

From its first appearance, then, the light of Christ already attracted men 'whom God loves' (Lk 2,14) of every language, people and culture. It is the power of the Holy Spirit which moves hearts and minds to a search for truth, beauty, justice and peace.

As the servant of God John Paul II affirmed in his encyclical Fides et ratio: "Man finds himself in a search that is humanly interminable: a search for truth and a search for a person in whom to trust" (N. 33). The Magi found both of these in the Baby of Bethlehem.

Men and women of every generation, in their earthly pilgrimage, need to be oriented: What star can they follow? After having stopped "over the place where the child was" (Mt 2,9), the star that had guided the Magi had fulfilled its function, but its spiritual light is always present in the words of the Gospel, which continues to guide every man to Jesus.

This same word, which is none other but the reflection of Christ, true God and true man, is authoritatively echoed by the Church for every soul who is ready for it. Even the Church carries out for mankind the mission of that star.

But this can also be said of every Christian, who is called on to light up the steps for his fellowmen through his words and the testimony of his life. How important it is then that we Christians be faithful to our vocation!

Every authentic believer is always on the path of his personal itinerary of faith, but at the same time, with the light he carries him, he can and should be of help to whoever is by his side, perhaps someone who is also trying to find the road that leads to Christ.

While we prepare ourselves for the Angelus prayers, I address my most heartfelt wishes to our brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches, who, following the Julian calendar, celebrate the Nativity of Christ tomorrow. It is a great joy to share the celeberation of the mysteries of faith in the multiform richness of the rites which attest to the bimillenary history of the Church.

Together with the Oriental Christian communities, who are very devoted to the Mother of God, let us invoke the protection of Mary on the universal church, so that it may spread through the world the Gospel of Christ, Lumen gentium, light of all the peoples.

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