Vatican City, 6 January 2014 (VIS) – After celebrating Mass in the Vatican Basilica on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Pope Francis remarked that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, in his book “The Infancy Narratives”, had “magnificently” commented on the episode of the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. “This was the first 'manifestation' of Christ to the people. Therefore, the Epiphany emphasizes the universal openness of the salvation brought by Jesus”.
“This festivity shows us a dual movement: on the one hand, the movement of God towards the world, towards humanity – the entire history of salvation, which culminates in Jesus – and on the other, the movement of mankind towards God – religions, the quest for the truth, the path of nations towards peace, justice and freedom. This dual movement is driven by mutual attraction. What attracts God? It is His love for us: we are his children, He loves us, and he wants to liberate us from evil, from disease, from death, and to bring us into His home, His Kingdom”.
“On our part, there is also love and desire: goodness and truth attract us, truth, life, happiness and beauty call to us ...Jesus is the meeting point for this mutual attraction and this dual movement. He is God and man: Jesus. God and man. But God always takes the initiative. God's love always precedes our own!”
“All the Church is inside this movement of God towards the world; and her joy is the Gospel, which reflects the light of Christ. The Church is made up of those who have experienced this attraction and carry it inside, in the heart of their lives. To those who feel far from God and the Church, to all those who are fearful or indifferent, I would like to say this: the Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of His people! The Lord calls to you, seeks you and awaits you. The Lord does not proselytise, He gives love, and this love seeks you and awaits you, you who at the moment do not believe or are far from Him. And this is God's love”.
After the Marian prayer, the Pope gave his good wishes to the brothers and sisters of the Oriental Churches, who celebrate Christmas on 7 January, and recalled that the Epiphany is the day of missionary children, as proposed by the Pontifical Association of the Holy Childhood.