VIDIMUS STELLAM EIUS IN ORIENTE
Homily of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
on the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terræ;
omnes gentes servient ei.
PRAISED BE JESUS CHRIST
This solemn day is sanctified by three miracles: the adoration of the Magi, the changing of water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan. These miraculous signs show us the divinity of Our Lord and His universal Lordship over the cosmos, over nature and over us. It is no longer only the shepherds who are called by the Angels to recognize the Verbum caro factum, but it is the whole human race, it is all creation that the voice of God Himself calls to adore Him, to listen to Him, to obey Him. A Lordship that some recognize with humble Faith and that others reject out of pride.
In the Martyrology on Christmas Eve, we heard sung the announcement of the Birth of the Savior secundum carnem, placed in history with a multiplicity of precise and detailed chronological references. The Toto orbe in pace composito that the cantor solemnly pronounces shortly before raising the tone of his voice to mark the historical reality of the salvific event of Christ’s Birth refers to the triple triumph of Augustus, author and peacemaker of the Roman Empire. A human and pagan triumph, certainly; but which was intended to prepare the eternal triumph of the Rex pacificus, the immortal Emperor, the unconquered Sun. For this reason, January 6, established as a civil holiday to celebrate the human glory of Rome, was chosen by the Church to celebrate the undying glory of Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords.
In this age of apostasy, marked by wars and conflicts caused by rebellion against God, it is difficult to understand how the earthly authority of the Emperor could constitute in the plan of Providence the necessary prerequisite for the coming of the Lord. What seems to us more “normal” — so to speak — is the ferocious and ruthless response of Herod, who in his mad attempt to kill the Child King exterminated the children of Bethlehem whom we recalled a few days ago in the Liturgy. Life and death, peace and war, light and darkness, grace and damnation: we constantly have before our eyes the two great alternatives for ourselves, for our families, for civil society. And it is Christ Who stands as a point of reference, as a stumbling block, asking us to make our moral choice, recognizing Him as our Life, our Peace, our Light, our everything. If not, that is, if we renounce this choice, if we wanted to declare ourselves neutral in the face of the battle fought by the angelic hosts against the infernal powers, we would still be making a choice on which our salvation and that of the whole world depends. We see it today: those who do not take the field under the banners of Christ inexorably end up being allies of His enemies, stand by watching as the innocents are killed by Herod, and before the manger refuse to adore the Lord, all in the name of a perverted concept of freedom and secularism in which the sovereign rights of God are denied or silenced.
And yet, precisely in contemplating the mysteries of this Most Holy Day, the Church shows us the need for the Epiphany, the manifestation of the divinity of Jesus Christ; a necessity for which Providence does not hesitate to move the stars, if a star can lead pagan scholars towards the light of grace and conversion to the true God. In fact, the simple and faithful adoration of the shepherds, made up of a humble and poor interiority, was not enough: it recalls the act of faith of the individual, of each one of us, but remains incomplete for the fate of the world if it is not accompanied by the public and official adoration of those who hold authority on earth, since this authority is a reflection of the authority of God, the Supreme Legislator and Judge. As the Psalm prophesies: Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terræ; omnes gentes servient ei [Ps. 71:11].
It is surprising, somehow, that it is wise men from the East who pay homage to the Child God, while the representatives of the imperial authority are absent, just as neither the king of Israel nor the High Priests appear; who also played a decisive role in trying and condemning the Lord to death. Present at the moment of death, but absent at the moment of life. Why do we not see the Roman Procurator, Herod, Annas and Caiaphas, the officials of the Sanhedrin and the scribes of the people around the manger, as we contemplate Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar kneeling before the Child intent on offering their gifts?
The answer is evident in all its simplicity. The shepherds adored Christ with the trusting abandonment of the simple, who has nothing to offer but himself and the poor things of daily life and his humble work. The Magi adored Christ thanks to His miraculous manifestation in the course of the stars, and their human wisdom, their ability to peer into the cosmos, led them to the timeless Sun, because they too, with humility, knew how to recognize the birth of God in the world. Both were illuminated by grace, the former through the announcement of the Angel, the latter through the signs of heaven. Instead, Herod and the High Priests, who should have known very well the Messianic prophecies preserved by Israel, could neither see nor believe, because their first concern was power. On the one hand, the temporal power, exercised under the domination of pagan Rome and forgetting that the Jewish sovereigns were vicars of the only King of Israel, the Lord God of hosts; on the other, spiritual power, exercised in what today we would call “self-referentiality,” that is, concerned to preserve itself and keep the people in ignorance. This is confirmed by the harsh rebukes and severe warnings of the prophets, by the mouth of which the Lord reminded His priests of their duties, while they were busy lengthening the prongs of the forks with which they held part of the sacrificial flesh for themselves, or while profiting from the trades of the money changers and merchants brought into the Temple. Deaf to grace! Deaf is Herod, who should have seen in the little Jesus the ratifying of his own authority; deaf are the High Priests, who should have recognized in Him the promised Messiah, the Desired One of all peoples [Agg. 2:7]. Both, significantly, had preferred to submit to the invader, rather than bow to the One Who holds in His hand the fate of the world and time. Non habemus regem nisi Cæsarem [Jn. 19:15].
The present situation is not very different in this regard from that time. Even today the civil and ecclesiastical authorities refuse to worship Jesus Christ, or do so only in words plotting for His killing, for fear of losing their power. Even today we see the simple and the leaders of distant nations recognizing the Savior, and conforming their private and public lives to Him, while world leaders prefer to gather in Davos for their globalist agenda, and the prelates of the Bergoglian sect think only of hiding their scandals, propagating synodality and encouraging the most unmentionable vices. Both support each other and recognize each other’s legitimacy. Both see Jesus Christ as an uncomfortable obstacle to the pursuit of their plans for power and domination. Yet, as we sing in the hymn of the Epiphany, non eripit mortalia qui regna dat cœlestia. He Who gives us heavenly kingdoms does not ravish earthly ones.
But if on the one hand the Magi, with their tribute of Faith, have been able to publicly adore the King of kings, having nothing to fear for their authority; on the other hand, the rulers who are rebellious and indocile to God, not recognizing the divine origin of the power they exercise, place themselves against His Lordship and also against their subjects, transforming wise and just government into an instrument of hateful tyranny. This is how the prophet Jeremiah expresses himself against them:
For among My people there are wicked people who spy like lurking hunters, they set traps for men. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit; therefore, they become great and rich. They are fat and wicked, they go beyond the limits of evil; they do not defend justice, they do not care for the cause of the orphan, they do not do justice to the poor. Should I not punish these sins? Oracle of the Lord. Should I not take revenge on a people like this? Terrifying and horrible things take place in the land. The prophets foretell in the name of lies, and the priests rule at their behest; yet My people are pleased with this. What will you do when the end comes? [Jer. 5:26-31]
Listening to these words of Sacred Scripture, we wonder if they are not addressed to the powerful of this world, to the members of the globalist elite and to those who serve them out of cowardice, self-interest, and obsequious complicity. And to those who, established in authority in the Church to feed the flock entrusted to them by the Lord, abuse their power to govern at the nod of the prophets of the New World Order, who prophesy pandemics and emergencies of which they are ruthless architects.
What will you do when the end comes?, the Lord asks. Will you create new emergencies, new crises, new pandemics, new wars with which to keep the people subjugated? Will you continue to exterminate innocent children, to render fathers and mothers sterile, to defraud the worker of his reward, to corrupt the young, to kill the sick and the elderly because they are considered useless for your own vile interests? Will you barricade yourselves in your fortresses, hoping to escape God’s wrath and your just chastisement? What will you do, servants of the Great Reset, when your masters have to flee into their lairs and hide in the bowels of the earth? Do you think you can sell yourself to a new owner as you have done so far? Poor, miserable, deluded ones. The terrible day of the Lord will come for everyone, and also for you: first with the particular Judgment, and then with the universal Judgment. If earthly justice stands idly by and watches your crimes passively because it is subservient to you, Divine Justice will instead be inexorable and terrible, so that your public sins against the Majesty of God and against the man whom He created in His image and likeness, and whom He redeemed with His own Blood, do not go unpunished. And if our poor strength fails to overcome your conspiracies, know that each one of us, every faithful one of the Holy Church, every single good soul is praying, fasting, and doing penance, asking for the intervention of the Lord, the King of the Nations, whom you refuse to recognize, adore, and serve. What will you do when the end comes?
On this day of the Epiphany, when we celebrate the public manifestation of the Divine Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the public tribute of the Magi to His universal and eternal Lordship, let us also renew our offering. It is a poor and miserable offering, because it comes from us who have nothing but what Providence has granted us. And yet it is a precious offering, if presented by Our Lady, Mary Most Holy, the Queen Mother who is our Advocate at the Throne of the Son. It is an infinite offering when it rises to the Majesty of the Father through the hands of the pure and holy Victim, the High Priest, the Eternal Pontiff Who renews the Sacrifice of the Cross in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let us place our penances at the foot of the altar, so that they may become the gold of kings; our prayers, that they may ascend to heaven like the incense that priests burn to God; and our fasts, so that the Holy Mass may convert them into the myrrh of sacrifice. And we ask the Child King to convert those who hold authority both in civil society and in the Church, who find themselves today having to choose whether to follow the star to Bethlehem to worship Him, or to ignore His Birth in order to avoid His will and wage war against Him.
And so may it be.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
January 6, 2023
Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ