Recalling his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II said today, during the feast of the Epiphany, that Christianity does not feel estranged from the world even if the world feels estranged from Christianity.
Speaking during the Angelus prayer, Pope John Paul said: “The star, which guides the Magi to Christ, recalls the rich symbolism of the light, very present at Christmas. God is light and the Word become man is the ‘light of the world’, the light that guides the people’s path: Lumen gentium.”
The Pope recalled Pope Paul VI’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land 40 years ago and the words of peace, which he proclaimed there on Jan. 6, 1964, in Bethlehem, in the Basilica of the Nativity.
“‘We gaze upon the world with great affection. If the world feels estranged from Christianity, Christianity does not feel estranged from the world’,” he said, quoting Paul VI. “And he added that the mission of Christianity for humanity is a mission of friendship, of understanding, of encouragement… a mission, namely, of salvation,” the 83-year-old pontiff summarized.
It is from this place, where the Prince of Peace was born, that Paul VI “exhorted the leaders of nations to work in ever closer collaboration ‘to establish peace in truth, in justice, in liberty and in fraternal love’,” he added. It is with great affection, the Pope said, that he has taken Paul VI’s words as his own on this feast of the Epiphany.
The Pope then invoked the intercession of Mary, whom he called “the star of the pilgrim people of our time.”
“With the maternal help of the Virgin, may each man meet Christ, Light of the truth, and may the world advance on the way to justice and peace,” he concluded.