"THE EPIPHANY IS THE MANIFESTATION OF JESUS AS MESSIAH OF ISRAEL, SON OF GOD AND SAVIOR OF THE WORLD."
THE EPIPHANY IS THE MANIFESTATION OF JESUS AS MESSIAH OF ISRAEL, SON OF GOD AND SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. THE GREAT FEAST OF EPIPHANY CELEBRATES THE ADORATION OF JESUS BY THE WISE MEN (MAGI) FROM THE EAST, TOGETHER WITH HIS BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN AND THE WEDDING FEAST AT CANA IN GALILEE. (CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH #528)
IN CELEBRATING THIS FEAST, THE CHURCH CALLS US TO RECOGNIZE THE DIVINITY OF JESUS. IN EASTERN CHURCHES, THIS FEAST IS CALLED "THEOPHANY" SPECIFYING THAT THIS REALIZATION IS NOT JUST JESUS AS MESSIAH, BUT SPECIFICALLY JESUS AS GOD.
THE TRADITIONAL DATE OF THE FEAST IS JANUARY 6, BUT IN THE UNITED STATES IT IS CELEBRATED ON THE SUNDAY AFTER JANUARY 1.
ADORATION BY THE WISE MEN
The coming of the wise men (also called Magi) to adore Jesus is the first mystery celebrated on the Epiphany. The wise men traveled a distance and were not from a Jewish nation. This is one of the early proofs to us that Jesus came not just for the Jews but for "all nations" as promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.
We can further consider the Gifts the Magi brought: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Gold represented the kingship of Christ, frankincense was used in worship and represented his priesthood, and myrrh was used in burial ointment and foreshadowed his death.
BAPTISM OF THE LORD
When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). This is another moment of epiphany as we hear the voice of God the Father speaking down from heaven, declaring that Jesus is his Son. We, as Catholics, traditionally celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord as the end to the Christmas Season.
WEDDING AT CANA
We know the familiar story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. This was his first public miracle. Individuals had met him and some had realized his identity as divine messiah, but now his power was made public for all to see and recognize that their savior had come.
WOULD I SEE HIM?
"They were looking at God, but he was not who they expected him to be."
I have often wondered if I would have been one of the people who recognized Jesus for who he is when he was walking the earth. It baffles me sometimes when I read about one of the "unbelievers" who were there when Jesus was teaching or healing, and yet they just went on with their lives as if nothing had happened.
I would like to say, "well yes, of course I would see him. I am a Christian today, aren't I?" But I don't think the answer is that simple. There were, of course, many Jewish people who failed to recognize the savior they had spent generations waiting for.
They were looking at God, but he was not who they expected him to be.
I can think of so many times in my life when I was busy with something I thought was important, but a friend needed me to be present with them. There are other times I have wanted God to show up in a particular way and it was not until much later that I could see he had been there, just working in a way that was hidden. How many times do I act like Mass is just another thing to do on the weekend? What about when I treat prayer like yet another text I do not really have time to reply to?
Do I see him in the poor around me? Do I see him in the people who "take up my time" when I have other things to do? How much of the time do I tell God how I will worship him, and I refuse to adjust when he calls me to something else? Do I recognize Jesus in the people who need me when I am trying to pray?
This Epiphany, he is calling us to see him as he actually is. Every Sunday we profess our belief in the divinity of Jesus as we say, "God from God, Light From Light, True God from True God." But do we live like this is true? Every Mass, the Eucharist is consecrated and bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Jesus. Do I see him then?
If I recognize the divinity of Jesus, I will seek him in the Eucharist. I will let him be the God of my own life. When he calls, I will answer.
On the feast of the Epiphany, it is traditional for Catholics to mark their doorways with a blessing. This can help us recognize the sacredness of the home and the importance of the domestic church, while asking God to bless our home and family.
The leader makes the sign of the cross, and all reply, “Amen.”
The leader greets those present in the following words:
Let us praise God, who fills our hearts and homes with peace.
Blessed be God forever.
R/. Blessed be God forever.
In the following or similar words, the leader prepares those present for the blessing:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us. It is Christ who enlightens our hearts and homes with his love. May all who enter this home find Christ’s light and love.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke
Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.> When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”
Leader: The Son of God made his home among us. With thanks and praise let us call upon him.
R/. Stay with us, Lord.
Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, with Mary and Joseph you formed the Holy Family: remain in our home, that we may know you as our guest and honor you as our Head. We pray:
R/. Stay with us, Lord.
Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, you had no place to lay your head, but in the spirit of poverty accepted the hospitality of your friends: grant that through our help the homeless may obtain proper housing. We pray:
R/. Stay with us, Lord.
Leader:Lord Jesus Christ, the three kings presented their gifts to you in praise and adoration: grant that those living in this house may use their talents and abilities to your greater glory.
R/. Stay with us, Lord.
All recite together The Lord's Prayer
PRAYER OF BLESSING
Lord God of heaven and earth,
you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation
by the guidance of a star.
Bless this house
and all who inhabit it.
Fill them (us) with the light of Christ,
that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The leader concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying:
May Christ Jesus dwell with us,
keep us from all harm,
and make us one in mind and heart,
now and forever.
Use your chalk to write the following over your doorframe:
20 + C + M + B + 23