These eight sermons, delivered on the feast of the Epiphany, cover numerous aspects of that event. Leo bewails the blindness of Jews in the person of Herod (whom he addresses several times, e.g., Serms. 31.2 and 34.2). Yet he points out that, in consequence of this, Gentiles owe thanks to God for giving his light to them ( Serm. 32.2). Jews were "unwilling to recognize with their eyes the one whom they had pointed to from their sacred books" (cf. Serms. 32.2 and 33.3).
In the image of three wise men following the light of a star, Leo finds many opportunities for encouraging believers to follow the light of Christ, a light exemplified especially in love--". . . When an inclination to good will abounds in us all, the poison of hate might not be found in any one" ( Serm. 37.4.2); in forgiveness--"To inflict and to pay back injury belongs to the wisdom of this world, but 'to repay evil for evil to no one' represents the childhood of Christian self-possession" ( Serm. 37.4); and in humility--". . . the entire victory of the Savior, the one that overcame the devil and the world, began in humility and ended in humility" ( Serm. 37-2).
WE HAVE JUST celebrated the day when undefiled virginity brought forth a Savior for the human race. Now, dearly beloved, this revered feast of the Epiphany prolongs our joy. Since the mysteries of these kindred solemnities are closely related, the intensity of our joy and the ardor of our faith are not allowed to grow cold. It concerns the salvation of all humanity that the Infancy of the "Mediator between God and human beings"1. was now being made known to the whole world, even while it was still confined to this meager little village. He had chosen the nation of Israel and--from that nation--one family in particular as the one from which to take____________________