Vatican City (AsiaNews) - With the solemnity of the Epiphany - celebrated January 6 in Italy and the Vatican - "through the Kings from the East, the great light that radiates from the Grotto of Bethlehem inundates the whole of humanity”. Thus, Benedict XVI introduced his homily on the feast commemorating the journey of discovery and the arrival of the Kings in Bethlehem to worship the “King of the Jews" and give him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The pope particularly touched on some paradoxes that characterize this feast. The first paradox is highlighted by the difference between the prophecy of Isaiah (in the first reading today, Is 60, 1-6)-in which the light of God will bow "The kings of the nations ... from all corners of the earth" - and the "poor and humble" vision from the Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12), where the Kings found the child in a grotto: "the mighty kings of the earth do not arrive in Bethlehem, - the Pope said - but Kings of the East, unknown characters, perhaps viewed with suspicion, in any case not worthy of particular attention. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are informed of the incident, but do not consider it necessary to bother themselves, not even in Bethlehem does it seem that there is someone who cares about the birth of this Child. "
In fact, the pope continued, "those people from the East are not the last, but the first of the great procession of those who, through all periods of history, are able to recognize the message of the star, they know how to walk on the road indicated by the Sacred Scriptures and thus know how to find, the One who is apparently weak and fragile, but, in reality, has the power to gift the greatest and deepest joy to the heart of man. In Him, in fact, we see the wonderful reality that God knows us and is close to us, that His greatness and power is not expressed in the logic of the world but the logic of a helpless child, whose strength is only that of love who trusts himself to us. In the course of history, there have always been people who are illuminated by the light of the star, who find the road and come to Him. Everyone, each in his own way, lives the experience of the Kings". With them, "something new started, a new path was laid, a new light fell upon the world that has not died ... The light of Bethlehem continues to shine throughout the world."
The pontiff also explained the gift given by the Kings to the Infant Jesus: "They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh ... According to current thinking at that time in the East, these are recognition of a person as God and King: they are, in short, an act submission .... The consequence of this is immediate. The Kings can no longer continue on their way, they can not return to Herod, they can not be allied with that powerful and ruthless ruler. Have been brought over forever to the path of the Child, one that will lead them to neglect the great and powerful of this world and bring them to Him who waits among the poor, the path that only love can transform the world". The second paradox is that while "the few of Bethlehem are now many, believers in Jesus Christ always seem to be few. Many have seen the star, but few have understood the message. "
Benedict XVI asked: "Why do some see and find it and others do not? What opens ones eyes and heart? What is lacking in those who remain indifferent, in those who point the way but do not move? We can answer: too much self-confidence.... They place their trust more in themselves than in Him and can not believe that God is so great that he made himself small, so he could really be close to us. ... In the end, what is lacking is genuine humility, knowing how to submit ourselves to something that is greater, but also authentic courage, which leads us to believe in that which is truly great, even if it manifests itself as a helpless child. "
He concluded: "But the Lord has the power to enable us to see and to save us. Thus we want to ask Him to give us a wise and innocent heart that allows us to see the star of his mercy, to begin the journey down His path, to find and be inundated by the great light and joy that he brought to this world. Amen!”. Photo: CPP