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    » 01/05/2011, 00.00

    VATICAN

    “Joyfully announce the Epiphany to the world", the "manifestation" of Jesus, says Pope



    During the general audience, Benedict XVI says that Christmas "is not only a memory of the past, but a fact that takes place before our eyes." We must redeem this Time from "an overly moralistic and sentimental reading", it " not only offers us examples to imitate, such as the humility and poverty of the Lord, his kindness and love towards men, but instead is an invitation to let ourselves be completely transformed by the One who took on our flesh. "

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Epiphany, the "manifestation of God to all nations," a liturgical part of the Christmas season, holds within it an invitation: What we have seen, contemplated, touched, "the Word made flesh”, we must joyfully announce to the world, by bearing witness to it in our lives, "because Christmas is not only a memory of the past, but a fact that takes place before our eyes". The announcement "To you is born a Savior," tells us " the manifestation of God is aimed at our participation in the divine life within us the realization of the mystery of his incarnation. This mystery is the fulfillment of the vocation of man. "

    This was the appeal Benedict XVI addressed to eight thousand people attending the first general audience of the year, on the eve of the Epiphany. "The feast of Christmas - he said - fascinating today as it once was, more than any other major feast of the Church, is fascinating because everyone somehow senses that the birth of Jesus has to do with humanity’s deepest aspirations and hopes". "Consumerism can divert attention from this inner longing, but if the desire to accommodate that child who brings news of God who came to give us life in its fullness in our heart, then the lights of Christmas decorations can become a reflection of that Light that is the incarnation of God. "

    But "the liturgical celebration of Christmas is not just a recollection, it is also a mystery, it is not only memory, but also presence, two inseparable aspects: we must experience the Christmas season as the Church presents it”, already in prospect of Easter. The ''Christmas liturgical season extends for 40 days from 25 December to 2 February, from the celebration of Christmas Eve, to the motherhood of Mary, from the Epiphany, through the baptism of Jesus and the wedding at Cana, to the Presentation in the Temple, just as similarly  the Easter season forms a unit of 50 days until Pentecost. "

    Christmas is "the beginning of the central mystery of salvation, Jesus begins his offering of himself from the very beginning of his human existence", and "it is interesting to see that in some Eastern icons, the Child Jesus is at times represented in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger that is shaped like a tomb". The Incarnation and Easter are in fact "two inseparable key points of the one faith in Jesus Christ."

    The night of Christmas is "deeply rooted in the great vigil of Easter, when redemption is accomplished in the glorious sacrifice of the dead and risen Lord. The same crib, as the image of the Incarnation of the Word, in the light of the Gospel story, already alludes to the Passover and it is interesting to see how in some of the icons of the Nativity in the Eastern tradition, Jesus is represented as a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger that has the form of a tomb, an allusion to the time when He will come down from the cross, be wrapped in a shroud and placed in a tomb cut into the rock. Incarnation and Easter are not next to each other, but the two are inseparable key points of the one faith in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God and Redeemer. The Cross and Resurrection presuppose Incarnation. "

    "We need to redeem this Christmas season - the conclusion of the Pope – from an overly moralistic and sentimental reading. The celebration of Christmas gives us not only examples to imitate, such as humility and poverty of the Lord, his kindness and love towards men, but is rather an invitation to us to let ourselves be totally transformed by the One who took on our flesh ".

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    See also

    06/01/2006 VATICAN
    Pope: Epiphany, mystery of light for Israel, pagans, the Church of saints and sinners

    The feast which marks the start of the Church's mission was celebrated in the Basilica of St Peter. A tangible silence spread among the congregation at the end of the homily.



    06/01/2006 VATICAN
    Epiphany: the pope "counts on" the prayer and mission of children, youth

    At the Angelus, the pope drew attention to Children's Mission Day and the World Youth Day in Cologne. A greeting was extended to the Orthodox Churches who celebrate Christmas today.



    06/01/2007 VATICAN
    Pope: Epiphany of Christ and universal mission of Church
    Benedict XVI invited Christians to live “as children of the light and to lead men to Christ, true light of the world”. Thanking the “Holy Childhood”, he prayed that “passionate missionaries” may emerge from among children. He greeted the Churches of the east that celebrate Christmas tomorrow.

    06/01/2011 VATICAN
    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.

    06/01/2009 VATICAN
    Pope on Orthodox Christmas, Gaza violence and children without childhood
    During the Angelus of the Epiphany Benedict XVI sends his greetings to Orthodox communities, thanks all those who are trying to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians and calls for the release of tens of children abducted in the DRC. He also talks about the “disarming meekness of love” and the world’s hostility.



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