Pope Ordains Four Archbishops on the Feast of the Epiphany. Calls All Bishops to Courageous Faith in an Age of Agonosticism
In a beautiful juxtaposition of the Gospel text, he pointed to the character of the Wise men from the East and then expounded upon the character and task of a Bishop in this urgent hour of the Church
At the Sacred Liturgy, the Holy Father ordained four Archbishops for the Church. As the Chief teacher of the universal Church he used his homily as an occasion to give a profound exposition on the call of all Bishops to be men of profound faith, wisdom, courage and holiness in the midst of an age which is marked by what he called a regnant (ruling) agonosticism
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On January 6, 2013, the universal Church celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany or Manifestation. The Feast commemorates the journey of the three Wise men (Magi) to visit the infant Jesus, having followed a star. It is also the proclamation of the universality of the message of the gospel in that they represent the "gentiles". Thus, the fulfillment of all of the promises of the Old Testament prophets has been fulfilled in the birth of the Savior of all the nations. We offer to our readers the entire homily given by the Holy Father in St Peter's Basillica below.
At the Sacred Liturgy, the Holy Father ordained four Archbishops for the Church. As the Chief teacher of the universal Church he used his homily as an occasion to give a profound exposition on the call of all Bishops to be men of profound faith, wisdom, courage and holiness in the midst of an age which is marked by what he called a regnant (ruling) agonosticism. In a beautiful juxtaposition of the Gospel text, he pointed to the character of the Wise men from the East and then expounded upon the character and task of a Bishop in this urgent hour of the Church.
Given the profundity of this message we urge our readers around the golbe to prayerfully read it in its entirety. We also ask that you pray for all Bishops, and most especially the Bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter, Benedict XVI.
Homily of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
6 January 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history. Thus the liturgy reads the Gospel which relates the journey of the Wise Men, together with the magnificent prophetic visions of the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah and Psalm 71, which depict in bold imagery the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jerusalem.
Like the shepherds, who as the first visitors to the newborn Child in the manger, embodied the poor of Israel and more generally those humble souls who live in deep interior closeness to Jesus, so the men from the East embody the world of the peoples, the Church of the Gentiles - the men and women who in every age set out on the way which leads to the Child of Bethlehem, to offer him homage as the Son of God and to bow down before him.
The Church calls this feast "Epiphany" - the appearance of the Godhead. If we consider the fact that from the very beginning men and women of every place, of every continent, of all the different cultures, mentalities and lifestyles, have been on the way to Christ, then we can truly say that this pilgrimage and this encounter with God in the form of a Child is an epiphany of God's goodness and loving kindness for humanity (cf. Tit 3:4).
Following a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord also as the day when episcopal ordination will be conferred on four priests who will now cooperate in different ways in the ministry of the Pope for the unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ in the multiplicity of the Particular Churches. The connection between this episcopal ordination and the theme of the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jesus Christ is evident.
It is the task of the Bishop in this pilgrimage not merely to walk beside the others, but to go before them, showing the way. But in this liturgy I would like to reflect with you on a more concrete question. Based on the account of Matthew, we can gain a certain idea of what sort of men these were, who followed the sign of the star and set off to find that King who would establish not only for Israel but for all mankind a new kind of kingship. What kind of men were they? And we can also ask whether, despite the difference of times and tasks, we can glimpse in them something of what a Bishop is and how he is to carry out his task.
These men who set out towards the unknown were, in any event, men with a restless heart. Men driven by a restless quest for God and the salvation of the world. They were filled with expectation, not satisfied with their secure income and their respectable place in society. They were looking for something greater. They were no doubt learned men, quite knowledgeable about the heavens and probably possessed of a fine philosophical formation. But they desired more than simply knowledge about things.
They wanted above all else to know what is essential. They wanted to know how we succeed in being human. And therefore they wanted to know if God exists, and where and how he exists. Whether he is concerned about us and how we can encounter him. Nor did they want just to know. They wanted to understand the truth about ourselves and about ...
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