Tag Archives: Epiphany

Christ appears in his humanity and divinity

epiphany-relief

Today is the feast of the Epiphany. The splendor of this feast recalls God’s manifestation to all people, to the whole world. On Christmas Day, God’s goodness became visible to us under the form of a baby, in the sacred humanity of Christ, God’s only begotten Son and the Father’s true image and substance.

Through faith, we know the mystery of the Incarnation, and Christ’s appearance in our midst changed forever the course of human history. God appeared in our world as a small baby, but he came to it as Savior. He came to save us!

In the Latin-Mediterranean countries, the feast of the Epiphany is commonly known as the Feast of the Three Kings. Guided by a brighter than usual star, they came from afar to the humble cave of Bethlehem to render homage to a tiny child, the King of Kings. In the Gospel story, the evangelists make sure to imply that the Magi represented the gentiles, thus Jesus did not just come to save Israel’s Chosen People, but to save all humankind, Jews and gentiles alike.

Brother Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette
A Monastic Journey To Christmas

***The church calendar can be confusing to some. In the Eastern Churches and with the Traditional Roman Missal the great feast of the Epiphany/Theophany is celebrated on January 6. The Novus Ordo group celebrates the feast today.

Epiphany prayers

christ-the-light-detail“For captives and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord!”
Holy New Martyr Père Jacques pray to God for us!
 
Prayers for the protection, and release of Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, kidnapped April 22, 2013.
 
For Jesuit Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio S.J. kidnapped July 29, 2013.
 
Also missing in Yemen is a Salesian priest, Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil. It is believed that he was kidnapped March 4, 2016.
 
For the 230 school girls kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria on April 15, 2014, 11 kidnapped May 6th.
 
16 Christians including young boys and girls, abducted Oct 5th, 2014 in Knayeh, Syria.
 
And for all held captive for the faith.
 
For all those persecuted for the faith, let us pray to the Lord
Kyrie eleison! Kyrie eleison! Kyrie eleison!

Happy Epiphany

epiphanyA most blessed, glorious, and joyful Feast of the Epiphany/Theophany of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ to all celebrating today…

Christos Chrescajetsja… Vo Jordani!
Christ is Baptized…In the Jordan!
Buona Festa…Z’Prazdnykom!

“When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, Who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee.”

 

~ Tropar of the Feast
(Icon of the Feast by the hand of Michael Kapeluck, Carnegie, PA)

The Importance of Epiphany

theophanyAsked why is Epiphany/Theophany important is answered only by looking at the sacred Liturgy? This feast is one of the oldest of the Christians even predating the December 25th observance of the Lord’s Nativity. This is a good exercise in doing liturgical theology: reflecting on the texts of the Liturgy as a way of understanding why do and believe what we do. This is theologia prima.

First things first. The title of this feast speaks volumes; this feast manifests, or you can say, reveals God to us. The Liturgical hymns inviting us to rejoice at God’s appearance in human history. Here are 20 reasons taken from the Prologue chanted by the celebrant as he prepares to chant the ancient prayer, “Great are You”:

Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for he has regarded and redeemed his people: for behold, the time of the feast has drawn near to us: angels with men celebrate and a choir of saints draws near to us.

1) Today the grace of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying the waters, appears to these.
2) Today the heavens delight in raining dew upon the earth.
3) Today the never-setting sun appears and the world is illuminated.
4) Today the moon shines on the world with the brightness of its rays.
5) Today the luminous stars beautify the world.
6) Today the clouds give the dew of righteousness to mankind from the heavens.
7) Today all of the waters spread their back to the feet of the master.
8) Today the invisible one becomes visible in order to manifest himself to us.
9) Today the uncreated one by his own will receives the laying on of hands from his own creation.
10) Today he who does not bow down bows his neck before his servant so that he might release us from slavery.
11) Today we have been delivered from darkness and we are being illuminated with the light of the knowledge of God.
12) Today the master reforms the archetype through the regeneration of the image.
13) Today the whole creation is watered by breathing streams.
14) Today the errors of men are wiped away by the waters of Jordan.
15) Today the bitter waters of the sea are transformed into sweet by the manifestation of their own master.
16) Today paradise has been opened for men, and righteous people congregate with us.
17) Today we have been released from our ancient lamentation, and as the new Israel we have found salvation.
18) Today we have cast off the old garments of sin and have been clothed in the vesture of incorruption.
19) Today is the holy and luminous celebration of the right-worshipping Christian.
20) Today we have received the kingdom of heaven from the heights, and of the Lord’s kingdom there is no end.

Epiphany

Baptism of LordThe Catholic liturgical calendar may be confusing for some people since it is not well articulated by churchmen. Today is the 12th day of Christmas, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (or the Theophany in the Eastern Churches). The word “epiphany” means manifestation, or revelation of God. Divine Revelation reveals that God the Father claims Jesus as his own son and commands that we listen to him. The voice from the heavens sets the drama. Epiphany, therefore, is the day on which we celebrate three things: the adoration of the Magi, the baptism of the Lord in River Jordan and the Wedding Feast at Cana.

On the point about the Lord’s baptism by his cousin John, Saint John of Damascus explains that Christ was not baptized because He had need of purification, “but to identify Himself with our purification.” Saint Hilary of Poiters follows upon the teaching of the Damascene but saying gate Lord did not need the baptism of repentance, but we do, and therefore Jesus sanctified the waters of baptism by his own. Thus the Lord’s own baptism became a model for our own baptism.

Let us look in awe at the revelation of God.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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