» 01/06/2009, 00.00
Divine love, incarnate in Christ, is the universal law of Creation, says Pope
On the solemnity of the Epiphany, Benedict XVI said that the Magi were astronomers, scientists whose studies of the stars led them to discover God made man. Jesus’ birth is a “cosmological revolution”. Man does not depend upon cosmic forces but on the relationship to the Author of Creation, source of hope even in the darkest moments of history, like now. The Church, modelled on the persona of Saint Paul, is the Magi’s star, leading the nations to God.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Epiphany, the Feast that celebrates the Magi’s coming to the manger in Bethlehem led by a star, is the sign of a “cosmological revolution caused by the arrival into the world of the Son of God. [. . .] Divine love, incarnate in Christ, is the fundamental and universal law of creation.” Benedict XVI’ s homily in today’s Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on the solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is an appeal to scientists to acknowledge in their studies the reality of “The love which moves the sun and the other stars” as Dante put it to define God in the last verse of the Divine Comedy.
“The stars, the planets, the universe as a whole are not governed by a blind force; they do not obey the dynamics of matter alone,” the Pope said. “They are not therefore cosmic elements that must be deified; on the contrary, in all and above all there is a personal will, the Spirit of God, that was revealed in Christ as love.”
The Pontiff’s appeal is even more significant this year because 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first telescopic observations, a year the United Nations has designated as the International Year of Astronomy.
The Pontiff said that the Magi “were probably astronomers” who through their observations “saw a new start appear” and “interpreted” the event “as the annunciation of the birth of a king.”
Even in our age, Benedict XVI noted, “quite a few scientists like Galileo have not given up on reason or faith, giving instead the utmost value to both as they nourish each other.”
The “cosmological revolution” brings freedom to man. As Saint Paul said in his Letter to the Colossians: “See to it that no one captivate[s] you [. . .] according to the elemental powers of the world” (cf Col, 2:8). Man is free and able to relate to God’s creative freedom. He is at the origin of and rules everything, not as a cold and anonymous engine, but as Father, Spouse, Friend, and Brother; as Logos, ‘Word-Reason’, that united our mortal flesh once and for all and fully shared our condition, showing the overflowing power of his grace.”
“Christian thinking compares the cosmos to a ‘book’ as Galileo put it himself, considering it as the work of an author who expresses himself through the ‘symphony’ of creation,” the Pope said. “At a certain point in this symphony one finds what in music is called a ‘solo’, a subject assigned to a single instrument or voice. And it is so important that the meaning of the whole work depends upon it. This ‘solo’ is Jesus . . . . The Son of man sums up in himself earth and sky, creation and Creator, flesh and Spirit. He is the centre of the cosmos and history because in Him Author and work are united without merging.”
Thanks to Christ’s dominion over creation and history, as confirmed by the Resurrection, the Church marches assured in history.
“There is no shadow, however dark, that can dim the light of Christ. For this reason believers in Christ never lose hope vis-à-vis the great social and economic crisis troubling humanity today, the destructive hatred and violence that continue to shed blood in many regions of the world and man’s selfishness and pretensions to be his own god, which leads sometimes to dangerous distortions of God’s design about life and the human dignity in matter of the family and the harmony of creation. As I wrote in the already mentioned Spe salvi Encyclical, our efforts to free human life and the world from poisons and pollution that could destroy the present and the future retains its value and meaning, ‘even if we outwardly achieve nothing or seem powerless in the face of overwhelming hostile forces,’ because ‘it is the great hope based upon God's promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad’(n. 35).”
The Feast of the Epiphany bids the Church to imitate “the service the star provided the Magi of the East and led them to Jesus” (cf Saint Leo the Great, Ser 3 on Epiphany, 5: PL 54, 244). And in this Christians have a model in Saint Paul, whose bimillenial is celebrated this year.
“What was Paul’s life after his conversion if not a race to bring the light of Christ to the nations and bring the nations to Christ,” the Pope said. “God’s grace made Paul a ‘star’ among people. His ministry is an example and incentive for the Church to rediscover its essentially missionary vocation, renewing its commitment to announcing the Gospel, especially to those who do not know it yet.”
After urging the faithful to be nourished by the Word of God, the Pontiff concluded saying: “Of the Word of life we are but servants. This is how Paul saw himself and his ministry, a service to the Gospel, when he said: ‘All this I do for the sake of the gospel’ (1 Cor, 9:23). This is also what the Church and every ecclesial community, bishop and presbytery ought to say: All this I do for the sake of the gospel.”
Like the Magi, we seek the light that shows the path to take in life, Pope says
In looking at the universe, which was not created randomly, they sought the true light. They found it following the Scriptures. There is a bit of Herod in each of us when we see God as a limit to our freedom. Pope speaks about Eastern Churches, currently under pressure, who celebrate Christmas now.
Pope: Christmas, the solstice, and astronomy
Benedict XVI recalls that the feast of the Nativity of Christ is celebrated in conjunction with the winter solstice, and that it has a "cosmic dimension." A greeting to all of those involved in the worldwide year of astronomy, a science respected and practiced by many popes as well.
Pope: Rome, unity and mission to all peoples at feast of Peter and Paul
Benedict XVI emphasises the mission of the two apostles, and that of the see of Rome, to emphasise the unity and universality of the Catholic faith. Also present Bartholomew I, patriarch of Constantinople, in Rome for the beginning of the Pauline Year. The pontiff gave 40 archbishops the pallium, sign of Christ's "care" for humanity and of collegial communion with the pope.
Pope: Christian unity requires "all of our energy and efforts", but prayer above all
At the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI recalls that this event has existed for one hundred years, and that for 40 years meditations and prayers for this appointment have been prepared together with the World Council of Churches. In this bimillennial Pauline year, the effort for unity takes on special significance.
Pope at Epiphany: For the Church, "There is no other way. Mission is her vocation”
Speaking at the Epiphany Mass, Pope Francis reiterated the Church’s missionary mission, which is not proselytising. The Church lives from the ‘mysterium lunae’. She reflects God’s light, and cannot “illude herself into thinking that she shines with her own light”. “Like the Magi, countless people, in our own day, have a ‘restless heart’.” In front of the child and his mother, let us present them with our gifts: “our freedom, our understanding and our love."
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.