Replebitur majestate ejus omnis terra
Replebitur majestate ejus omnis terra
Homily on the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord
Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus:
et regnum in manu ejus, et potestas, et imperium.
Mal 3: 1; 1 Par 29: 12
In today’s Feast we celebrate the Mystery of the Epiphany of Our Lord, that is, the three-fold miraculous Manifestation of His Divinity:
Tribus miraculis ornatum diem sanctum colimus:
hodie stella magos duxit ad præsepium;
hodie vinum ex aqua factum est ad nuptias;
hodie in Jordane a Joanne Christus baptizari voluit,
ut salvaret nos, alleluja (Antiphona ad Magnificat).
Three mysteries mark this holy day:
today the star leads the Magi to the infant Christ;
today water is changed into wine for the wedding feast;
today Christ wills to be baptized by John in the river Jordan
to bring us salvation, alleluia.
Let us therefore contemplate the adoration of the Magi, the miracle of the water changed into wine at the wedding in Cana, and the Baptism in the Jordan.
On the Holy Night of Christmas, the Angels called the shepherds to prostrate themselves before the Word made flesh; on the Epiphany it is the entire human race and indeed all created things that bow to the living and true God and offers Him their tribute: et procidentes adoraverunt eum. The wise men who came from the East open their coffers and give Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh: the gold of Kingship, the frankincense of Priesthood, the myrrh of Sacrifice.
This celebration, with the quiet serenity with which the Lord operates, overlaps and replaces that which on the sixth day of the first month of the Roman calendar was dedicated to the celebration of the triple triumph of Augustus, to the pax augustea, paying the tribute of public divine honors to the immortal Emperor. For this reason the Church of Rome considers the adoration of the Magi with greater attention, seeing in them the first institutional witnesses of that universal Kingship that Providence wanted to radiate into the world from the capital of civilization, postponing the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord to the second Sunday after the Epiphany.
It will not have escaped your notice that it is Mary Most Holy, the Throne of Divine Wisdom, who welcomes all the members of that court as Mother and Queen; it is She who presents the Son to the adorations of the earth and to the pleasures of heaven. God manifests himself to men in his greatness, but he does so through Mary, bridging in the Incarnation by means of the Divine Maternity of the Virgin the sidereal distance between the Eternal Word of the Father and fallen humanity.
But if Julian the Apostate and the Emperor Valens, even though they were enemies of the Church and heretics, did not dare to avoid paying tribute to the divine King, it was all the more desired and encouraged by Theodosius, Charlemagne, Alfred the Great, Stephen of Hungary, Edward the Confessor, Emperor Henry II, Ferdinand of Castile and Louis IX of France, who had well understood how their earthly authority could not ignore the Supreme Lordship of the King of kings, nor the submission of civil power to the holy Law of God. That divine order, that perfect κόσμος which realizes the Lord’s prayer – adveniat regnum tuum, sicut in cœlo et in terra – has been shattered by the infernal χάος of the Revolution, by the Luciferian cry of Non serviam.
However, we do not celebrate a remote and illusory hope, a chimera of peace yet to come in a world from which Jesus Christ has been banished. We celebrate the present and eternal reality of the victory of Christ, the only Light of salvation of the world, knowing that all the peoples and kings of the earth will adore the Savior and recognize Him as their God, King, and Lord. The prophecies of the Old Testament leave us in no doubt: et adorabunt eum omnes reges terræ: omnes gentes servient ei, says the Psalm (Ps 72:11). Adorabunt, dominabitur, liberabit, benedicent: they are all verbs in the future tense, indicating a very certain and unfailing destiny, an ontological necessity, which no rebellion – angelic or human – can prevent from being realized.
When we see today the last steps towards the abyss of apostasy and the abyss of satanic revolt taking place before our eyes, we must remember the inevitability of the triumph of Christ and the eternal defeat of Satan, precisely in the light of the ancient prophecies and the words of Savior: Confide: Ego vici mundum (Jn 16:33). Christ has won. He defeated all the tyrants who throughout history believed they could fight the Church, and all of Scripture celebrates this victory by alternating human despondency at the momentary success of the enemy with the confident joy of the universal triumph of God.
Before him the inhabitants of the desert shall fall,
his foes shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and the islands shall bring offerings,
the kings of the Arabs and of Saba shall offer tribute.
To him all the kings shall fall prostrate,
all the nations shall serve him. (Ps 72: 9-11).
This is not merely a wish or a pious desire: it is the announcement of a reality already taking place in the Eternity of God, and which must simply now be fulfilled in time, allowing us to deserve by the act of faith and the sanctity of our lives to participate in the glory of Christ’s victory. This is what we ask in the prayer of the Mass: ut, qui jam te ex fide cognovimus, usque ad contemplandam speciem tuæ celsitudinis perducamur – so that we who now have known you through faith, may come to contemplate the splendor of your majesty.
We, jam cognovimus, have already known the Lord by offering Him in the act of faith the tribute of our will and intellect. Others will know the Lord when he returns in glory iudicare vivos et mortuos, and they will know him in the fury of his justice, in the restoration of the broken order:
He shall free the poor man who cried out and the needy man who finds no help,
he will have pity on the weak and save the life of his poor ones.
He will rescue them from violence and abuse,
their blood will be precious in his eyes (Ps 72: 12-14).
Just as during Advent we prepared for the celebration of Holy Christmas and the Epiphany, so in this epochal phase of the History of the human race we are called to prepare for the Final Coming of the Lord, knowing that he will free us, have mercy on us, and save us, that he will redeem us from violence and abuse, and that humiliabit calumniatorem (Ps 72: 4) – he will humiliate the liar. And who is more of a liar than Satan and his servants, who is more false and deceiving than he who attempts to substitute the chimera of an impossible human peace for the pax christiana inaugurated by the Incarnation of the Son of God and ratified by Him on Golgotha by His Sacrifice of Himself to the Father? Who is more of a liar than he who distracts peoples from the Eternal Truth of Christ by the fraud of an earthly happiness made up of controls, violence, and heinous crimes against the weak and little ones?
Nolite timere pusillus grex, quia complacuit Patri vestro dare vobis regnum (Lk 12: 32). Do not be afraid, little flock, because it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you his kingdom: regnum veritatis et vitæ; regnum sanctitatis et gratiæ; regnum justitiæ, amoris et pacis (Præfatio Christi Regis). And so may it be.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
January 6, 2024
In Epiphania Domini