In the celebration of the Mass for the Epiphany, Pope Benedict declared that "today we celebrate Christ, Light of the world, and His 'manifestation' to all people" while reflecting on God’s continued faithfulness throughout a human history of sin.
"The evangelical episode we commemorate at Epiphany - the coming of the Magi to the Baby Jesus at Bethlehem - draws us back to the origins of the history of the people of God", said the Holy Father. This should remind us that the covenants that God creates with his people are concerned with “all humanity.”
The Pope continued: “With the calling of Abraham began God's great plan to make humanity a family, [he chose to do this] through His alliance with a new people, chosen by Him to be a blessing among all mankind. This divine plan is still underway and has its culminating moment in the mystery of Christ.” This plan must be accepted by the history of humanity, “which always remains a history of faithfulness on God's part and, unfortunately, also one of unfaithfulness by we humans.”
"The Church herself, depository of the blessing, is holy and made up of sinners. In the fullness of time, Jesus Christ came to fulfill the covenant. He Himself, true God and true man, is the Sacrament of God's faithfulness to His plan for the salvation of us all, of humanity entire.
"The coming of the Magi from the East to Bethlehem to adore the new-born Messiah is the sign of the manifestation of the universal King to all peoples, and to all men and women who seek the truth,” he added.
"The faithful and tenacious love of God, Whose covenant never fails from generation to generation... represents the hope of history. In this mystery of God's faithfulness, the Church fully accomplishes her mission only when she reflects in herself the light of Christ the Lord and thus helps the people of the world on the road of peace and true progress.
"Today too there is still much truth in what the prophet said: 'dense fog envelops nations' and our history", the Pope reflected. "Indeed, it cannot be said that globalization is synonymous with world order".
In this context, "conflicts for economic supremacy and for the monopolization of energy and water resources and raw materials hinder the efforts of those people who, at all levels, are seeking to build a more just and united world.
"Greater hope is needed", he added, "so as to permit the common good of everyone to prevail over the luxury of the few and the poverty of the many. ‘This great hope can only be God...not any god, but the God who has a human face’.”
"If there is great hope, it becomes possible to persevere in sobriety. If true hope is lacking, happiness is sought in inebriation, in superfluity, in excess, in the ruination of oneself and of the world.
"Moderation is not then just an ascetic rule, but also a path of salvation for humanity. it is now clear that only by adopting a sober lifestyle, accompanied by a serious commitment to the fair distribution of wealth, will it be possible to establish a just and sustainable order of development. To this end", the Holy Father concluded, "there is need for men and woman who nourish great hope and possess great courage".