.- Presiding at Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI said that there is nothing to fear in Christ’s message and remarked that failure on the part of Christians is an indicator that “the light is Christ, and the Church reflects that light only by remaining united to Him.”
Following the Mass, the Holy Father also greeted the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, pointing out how the Gospel of Matthew lays great emphasis on the Epiphany, a vitally important event because it marks the beginning of the conversion of "pagan peoples to faith in Christ. ... If, then, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem represent the people of Israel who welcomed the Lord, the Magi are the 'first fruit' of the Gentiles, also called to become part of the Church, the new people of God, no longer based on ethnic, linguistic or cultural homogeneity, but solely on shared faith in Jesus, the Son of God.
"For this reason," he added, "the Epiphany of Christ is at the same time the epiphany of the Church, in other words the expression of her vocation and universal mission." Benedict XVI then went on to greet "our brothers and sisters of the Oriental Churches who, following the Julian calendar, will celebrate Christmas tomorrow." He also recalled the fact that today is the World Day of Missionary Children, "the feast of Christian children who live the gift of faith with joy and pray that the light of Christ may reach all children in the world.