In Italy and Spain and many other countries, this is the traditional gift-giving day. (Because the Three Magi brought gifts.)
The Pope had another good homily today. He noted that the Magi didn’t find Jesus in the center of power, or even among the Scripture scholars (though they were useful signposts to finding Him). He also prayed that the faithful would become like guiding stars for people seeking Jesus.
He also made a hospital visit to kids (bringing them presents, of course!), where he made some remarks:
“Dear babies and young people, I’ve also wanted to come see you that I might be a little like the Magi we celebrate on this Epiphany Feast: they brought some gifts to Jesus — gold, frankincense and myrrh — to show adoration and love. Today I’ve also brought you some gifts, that you might feel in them a little sign of the care, the closeness and affection of the Pope. But I would wish that in these Christmas days, all of us, adults and children alike, remember that God has given the greatest gift to each one of us.
“When we look to the manger of Bethlehem, to the crib, what do we see? Who do we find? There’s Mary, there’s Joseph, but above all, there’s a baby — small, in need of attention, of care, of love. That baby is Jesus, that baby is God himself who wanted to come to earth to show us how much he loves us; it’s God who made himself a child like you to tell you that he’s always nearby, to say to each one of us that every baby, every child, carries his face.”
Venetian/Italian cakes for Epiphany:
Another couple of polenta mush/wheat flour cakes, if you scroll down. Polenta really is exactly the same as cornmeal mush from New England, so if you loosen it up, you could probably just use the tube of mush in your fridge.
In Italian, a yeast cake called Pinza with lots of fruit and nuts. (Scroll down for the recipe.)