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Chiesa della Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini


January 6, 2024

Is 60, 1-6

Mt 2, 1-12


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today we celebrate the light that has dawned on the world with the Nativity of Jesus, true God and true man, the only Savior of the world, King of Heaven and Earth. Today the words of the Prophet Isaiah are fulfilled:

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.[1]

The star, which led the Magi from the East to the manger where the Child Jesus lay,[2] is the instrument of the universal and eternal light emanating from the Savior's Face at His Advent into the world. It is the divine and eternal Light that from the moment of the Annunciation became incarnate, became visible to us. Since that moment, this light continues to shine on the world to drive out the darkness of sin and to draw the whole universe to the One who restores all things to God the Father, according to His plan for the salvation of the world.

Kneeling, together with the Magi, before the Child Jesus, we recall the hymn with which St. Paul celebrates the mystery of salvation, which had its beginning with the Incarnation and its fulfillment in the Redemption accomplished through the Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. [3]

This is the reason why today in the world's cathedrals, after the singing of the Gospel, the date of the next Easter celebration is solemnly announced to the faithful, signifying the perfect unity of the Nativity with the Resurrection.

Before the Mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation, we recognize that our present happiness and its fulfillment in the New and Eternal Jerusalem[4] is found only in Christ, born in Bethlehem and immediately manifested to the whole world, represented by the Magi. We have communion with Him – in His true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – through the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, He sacramentally makes present the Sacrifice on Calvary, pouring, without measure and without ceasing, divine grace from His glorious pierced Heart into our hearts. Truly we live in Christ, especially by participation in the Holy Mass, in the Holy Church. According to His promise, He, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, remains with us in the Church until the Last Day,[5] until His glorious return at the end of the world, until the establishment of “new heavens and a new earth.” [6]

How vain is the search for happiness, for eternal salvation, in the passing things of the world! Jesus alone, alive for us in the Church, is the light that illuminates all things of this world and their destiny in the world to come. He instructs us, through the sound and perennial doctrine of the Church, and purifies and strengthens us to live according to the sound and perennial doctrine through the Sacraments, the life of prayer and penance, and works of devotion. The deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, through which the Lord works for our salvation in every generation, is the star that always leads us to Him and helps us to live only in Him, for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, citing the Second Vatican Council:

The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the totality of the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing, and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."[7]

Using blessed chalk, we will mark the doors of our homes today with the Cross of Christ and the first letters of the names of the Magi to signify that truly our homes and hearts belong completely to Christ the King.

Led to the altar of Holy Mass by the star that is our faith and our life of faith in the Communion of Saints, let us unite our hearts, together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in His offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Let us bring from the altar, from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the light that illuminates all things and leads all things back to God, according to His plan for our salvation. May the joy of the Magi, who came before the Child Jesus in the manger after following the star, be our joy today and forever!

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE

[1] Is 60, 1-2.

[2] Cf. Mt 2, 1-2. 9-10.

[3] Eph 1, 3-10.

[4] Cf. Rev 3, 12.

[5] Cf. Mt 28, 20.

[6] 2 Pet 3, 13.

[7] Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 84. Cf. 1 Tim 6, 20; 2 Tim 1, 12-14; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, no. 10.