January 5, 2020


January 5, 2020:  Epiphany of the Lord

See 18 connections with today?
Legend below

For Epiphany
For 1st reading
The Prologue to John shows us the eternal Word, the Son of God, “became flesh.”  Not only did He come to dwell among the people, but he became one of us!  The Incarnation means we can now model our lives after a divine Person who took flesh, rather than seeking to follow a principle, law, or institution.  Paul blesses God for his plan of love realized in Christ, in which each of us finds our vocation:  to be children of God through him.  The Son of God became man to make us children of God.

We contemplate our relationship with the Father in the Nativity scene.  The Gospel of Christ is the full revelation of God’s plan for humanity, not some fable or edifying story.  What concrete project has the Lord placed in me, as he continues to make his birth present among us?  If the Lord continues to come among us and to give us his Word, it's so we can respond, to become saints in love.

Holiness is belonging to God, communion with Him, becoming a manifestation of his goodness.  Whoever accepts the gift of holiness makes it bear fruit in daily concrete action, in encounter with others.  Acting in love makes us immaculate, not in the sense that I remove a stain but the sense that God enters into us, and we care for the gift and give it to others.  May Mary help us welcome God's plan of love realized in Jesus Christ.

  • Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13  "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you."  The king shall govern with justice; peace will flourish.  All kings shall offer gifts and serve him.  He'll rescue the poor and afflicted and have pity on the lowly.
  • Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6  The mystery of God’s grace was revealed to me for your benefit.  Gentiles are coheirs and partners in Christ's promise.
  • Mt 2:1-12  Magi asked, “Where's the newborn king?  We saw his star.”  Troubled King Herod asked where and when he was to be born, then sent them to look for the child and bring him word.  They followed the star, entered, did homage, and offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they took another route back.
  • The triple meaning of Epiphany:  Before the feast was associated with the Magi's visit to baby Jesus, it celebrated three events that manifested God the Son:  Jesus' Incarnation, Jesus' baptism, and the wedding at Cana....
    The Virgin suckling the Child/ Cranach
    30 more; Vatican:
    "Show tender images of Mary breastfeeding"

    (re today's homily)
    • Creighton:  "Falling down and being lifted up":  We're familiar with the three visitors from the East bearing gifts, often shown standing in awe or bending a knee, but rarely do we feel the power of “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.”  To be prostrate is to be flat, face down, disarmed, immobile, vulnerable; the gesture expresses conviction of being in the presence of one mightier.  The “foreigners” express through their bodies the stance of humility, the only true response in God's presence.  St. Augustine said pride was the ultimate block to his conversion.  The Incarnation taught him the way forward:  “He built for himself a lowly habitation.... so [we might] consent to become weak, seeing the Deity... made weak by taking on our mortality; and, wearied, might cast [ourselves] on him, so that rising again, he might lift them up.”  He learned to surrender to God's power and let himself be lifted up.  May we imitate the Magi in our hearts and ask where we need to surrender to God's power today....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "When the star fades":  The Magi, impressed at the rising star, followed it to greet the newborn King they believed the star pointed to.  On their way, they could no longer see the star; past the point of no return, they weren't sure where God was leading them, but instead of giving up, they consulted King Herod, who, though harboring ill will, sent them to the right place.  As they continued, the star reappeared.  No wonder they "were overjoyed at seeing the star."  If you've ever started on a journey in response to God's prompting, burned your bridges behind you, then thought God's guidance vanished, it might have been a test from God.  Let the Magi be your model:  persevere in trust, and believe God will guide you.  "Walk by faith, not sight."  "Commit to the Lord your way; trust in him, and he will act."
      Adoration of the Magi/ Murillo
    • Passionist:  Literaryterms.net defines epiphany as “an Aha! moment....  when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realization which changes the rest of the story.  Often, an epiphany begins with a small, everyday occurrence.”  The coming of Jesus the Christ is certainly “a life-changing realization which changes the rest of the story.”  Even those living in his times were thrown into confusion and became troubled when confronted with the news a new king had been born.  People don't like change, especially when not from their own efforts.  We like to think we're in control; Epiphany reminds us we're not.
      We could call today's feast the Epiphany of Everybody.  We have the aha moment.  Though “Gentiles” (Gk. ethnos) is usually taken to mean non-Jews, it can also mean all living creatures, humanity and animals. This is the Epiphany of the whole world, where all become co-heirs, co-partners, one body.  In one small, everyday occurrence, childbirth, we're made one.  Can I accept this invitation and recognize it in all I meet?  May we actively work to be partners in creating God’s kingdom....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "They fell down and worshiped Jesus":  If Jesus is really the Son of God and Savior, why didn't everyone who heard and saw him recognize him?  "When he came into the world, the world didn't know him and his people didn't receive him."  Only the shepherds recognized him at his birth, and some foreigners also found their way via the star to pay homage.
      "Note the fitting order of events:  the wise men saw the star; the Jews and their king received them; they heard prophecy; the angel instructed them; they journeyed to Bethlehem by the star's guidance.  From this we learn this was no ordinary star, for no other star can guide, even beckon, them.  The star remained after they arrived, so the child might also be seen, for there's nothing conspicuous about the place:  the inn was ordinary, and the mother was not notable.  The star was needed to manifest and illumine the place, until they had reached their destination" (John Chrysostom).
      The wise men left everything, including home and country, to pursue their quest; they were led to the source of knowledge:  Jesus Christ, God's Light and Wisdom.  They worshiped the newborn King and gave him fitting gifts.  The same Lord gives each of us the same light of revelation to recognize and accept Jesus.  The Spirit moves us so we may understand, accept, and believe the truth God revealed to us through Jesus Christ.  "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace" (Thomas Aquinas).  To know and to encounter Jesus Christ is to know God personally.  In the encounter of the Magi with Jesus we see God's plan to give his Son as King and Savior for for all nations.  He came that all may find peace with God.  May all find the Lord and Savior on their journey of life.  Do I bring the light of Christ to those I meet?
      Dress legend
      • 'Heart' pin:  "Your heart shall throb and overflow" (1st reading)
      • 'Money bag' pin:  "The wealth of nations shall be brought to you" (1st reading)
      • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Raise your eyes and look about (1st reading)
      • Gold-colored accoutrements:  All shall come bearing gold... (1st reading); gift of gold (gospel)
      • 'Walker' tie pin:  Nations shall walk... (1st reading)
      • 'Christmas lights' tie, white shirt and socks:  ...by your light (1st reading), Magi followed star's light (gospel)
      • 'Olympics' tie pin (in for repair):  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you (psalm)
      • 'Scales' brooch:  Justice shall flower (psalm)
      • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace shall flourish (psalm)
      • 'Rulers' suspenders:  May he rule from sea to sea (psalm); you're not least among the rulers; from you shall come a ruler... (gospel)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  ...who is to shepherd my people (gospel)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  Kings by your radiance (1st reading); endow the king...; kings shall offer gifts (psalm); King Herod (gospel)
      • 'Dove' tie pin:  It has now been revealed by the Spirit (2nd reading)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  Magi:  "We saw his star" (gospel)
      • White shirt:  Today's liturgical color
      • No-'L' pin:  Christmas season lasts through tomorrow

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