Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Feast of the Epiphany

“We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord” (Matt. II:2).

The best-laid plans of mice and men, and all that… Well, I unexpectedly had to go into work last night, so my plan for writing a blog post about the feast day I want to focus on this week was replaced by emergency dinner preparation, some phone calls, and getting the house ready for Matt to take care of Eleanor without being in too much pain. Work was busy last night, and I didn’t get a chance to write until this morning.
The Spotlight Feast Day this week is the Feast of the Epiphany on Wednesday. Epiphany is Greek, meaning manifestation. During Christmastide, we celebrate the three manifestations of Our Lord’s mission here on earth. The first was to the shepherds on Christmas morning. “Fear not, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the City of David” (Luke I). The second is the feast of the Epiphany, when the three Magi came to pay their homage. The third manifestation will be celebrated on January 13, the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.
The Epiphany commemorates the occasion of the 3 Magi coming to present themselves to the King from the House of David. Traditionally, we are told their names are Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar, that they were an old man, a middle-aged man, and a young man, and that they were of 3 varying nationalities representing the 3 races known in the world at the time: African, Asian, and Caucasian. These traditions were simply to show that Christ came to save all mankind, as opposed to the Jews who were previously the Chosen People of God, and who alone possessed the knowledge of the True God. Now, God will share the message of how He wants to be worshipped, and in return share His Truth, to all mankind, Gentile and Jew alike.
The Magi brought 3 gifts, mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (ch. 2), are gold, frankincense, and myrrh, each representing Christ. Gold represents Christ’s Kingship over the world and the duty of mankind to obey Him, frankincense represents His Divinity and the duty to worship Him, and myrrh represents His death to save us all, and the duty that we owe thanks to Him.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, there is a custom to bless chalk and have it available for the faithful to take home. As soon as possible, write above your doors 20+C+M+B+16, to ask Christ to bless your home and all who enter. On another traditional note, it is also the Twelfth Day of Christmas. One can celebrate by reading Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night", named so after the day for which he wrote it.

“Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His hand, and power, and dominion” (Introit).