Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ—6 January A.D. 2017


Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

Blessing of Holy Water (on the Vigil)

Blessing of Epiphany Chalk

        Just a very few, brief, words about the Holy Day we are celebrating today.  “Epiphany” comes from two Greek words—the prefix “epi” denoting the near location of something in time or place—coupled to the word “phany” (φάνια) meaning “a manifestation.”  Perhaps a bit more explicit is the Greek Theophany (Θεοφάνια), meaning the “manifestation of God.”

    Although we use the word in the singular, “Epiphany” actually refers to three or four separate manifestations of our Lord.

    Already on Christmas day we read about the manifestation by the angels to the shepherds near Bethlehem:  “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:  for this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.” [1]  The shepherds were believers in the true God and in His angels, and quickly made their way to Bethlehem, “and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.”[2]  Already on Christmas Day, God had manifested Himself to His people.

    The Gospel today tells us about the manifestation to non-Jews, the “Magi” (magoi—μάγοι,) a name that would suggest that they were “magicians or sorcerers,” but which is usually translated as “kings” or “wise men.”  The Magi were led to the Christ child by a star (probably a miraculous conjunction) to worship the newborn King of the West.

    Pope Saint Gregory the Great (r. 590-604) pointed out that the manifestations of our Lord fell into two broad categories, “prophesies” and “miracles.”[3]  The shepherds received and believed the prophetic testimony of the angels, because the shepherds were believers.  The Magi, being pagans, required a physical miracle to conquer their unbelief.

    The third manifestation will be celebrated a week from today, commemorating the beginning of our Lord’s public life with His Baptism in the Jordan River.  Christ was made manifest to believing Jews in His Baptism, for which they were prepared by the preaching of John the Baptist, and which was ratified by the voice of God the Father: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”[4]

    The Church commemorates the fourth manifestation—of our Lord’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana—two weeks from Sunday.  It can be suggested that this was a manifestation of prophecy, with the Blessed Virgin urging the waiters to “Do whatever He tells you to do.”[5]  Clearly, she was proclaiming her divine Son, and proclaiming that whatever He said would be in accord with God’s will.  But, it is equally clear that in this Gospel, Saint John is concerned with demonstrating Jesus’ divinity through His miracle.  “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee; and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in Him.”[6]

    It is not unreasonable for modern day Catholics to have our Faith bolstered by both prophesy and miracles—Lord knows that the Church has an abundant stock of both.  Both are useful to sustain our Faith in this era of modernist religion and religious secularism.

    As we learn in the proper Preface and Canon of this octave: “God’s only begotten Son showed Himself in the substance of our mortal nature, He restored us by the new light of His own immortality….  [His] only begotten Son, who is co-eternal with [The Father] in [His] glory, showed Himself in true flesh and with a visible body like unto us.”[7]

    God has become one with us, as He has shown us both by miracle and by prophesy.   In both the prophetic “Glória in excélsis Deo” of the angels, and in the miracle of the Christmas Star, let us rejoice, and let us be “His disciples who believed in Him.”

Dei via est íntegra
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