This section features select texts by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI on various celebrations throughout the liturgical year. We started with a Pentcost homily given by Ratzinger, posted along with the launch of this website. Additional texts will be posted following the Church's liturgical calendar.
For spiritual reflection on the occasion of the Solemnity the Epiphany of the Lord, we present the full text of an address given by Benedict XVI at the Angelus on 6 January 2006.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we are celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, his manifestation to the peoples, represented by the Magi, mysterious figures who came from the East of whom the Gospel of St Matthew speaks (Mt 2: 1-12).
The adoration of Jesus by the Magi was immediately recognized as the fulfilment of the prophetic Scriptures. "Nations shall walk by your light", we read in the Book of Isaiah, "and kings by your shining radiance... bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord" (Is 60: 3, 6).
IMAGO / photothek
In his address at the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled his trip to World Youth Day in Cologne. The above photo shows him praying at the Shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral on 18 August 2005.
Today, the light of Christ, which was as it were contained in the Grotto of Bethlehem, reaches its full universal importance. My thoughts go in particular to the beloved brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches which, in line with the Julian Calendar, will be celebrating Holy Christmas tomorrow: I address my most cordial good wishes to them for peace and good in the Lord.
Today, the memory of World Youth Day spontaneously springs to mind. Many of you were there last August when more than a million young people came to Cologne, who had taken as their motto the words of the Magi referring to Jesus: "We have come to worship him" (Mt 2: 2).
How often we have heard and repeated these words! We cannot hear them now without returning in spirit to that memorable event which was an authentic "epiphany". Indeed, in its deepest dimension, the youth pilgrimage can be seen as a journey guided by the light of a "star", the star of faith.
Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace.
And today, I would like to extend to the whole Church the message I proposed at the time to the young people gathered on the banks of the Rhine: "Open wide your hearts to God!", I said to them, and today I repeat to all of you, "Let yourselves be surprised by Christ!... Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace" (Address, Welcome Celebration, Poller Rheinwiesen Wharf, Cologne, 18 August 2005; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 24 August, p. 4).
Benedict XVI chats with Star singers on 1 January 2009.
I wish that the whole Church, as in Cologne, could breathe the atmosphere of an "epiphany" and of authentic missionary commitment, inspired by the manifestation of Christ, the light of the world, sent by God the Father to reconcile and unify humanity with the power of love.
In this spirit, let us pray fervently for the full unity of all Christians, so that their witness may become a leaven of communion for the whole world. For this, let us invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.
Copyright 2006 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Headings, subheadings, and quotations are editorial insertions.