Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Glorious Feast of Epiphany

One of the greatest feasts in the liturgical year, celebrated by both East and West with great ceremony, is the Epiphany. On this day we commemorate the arrival of the three Kings at the crib of the newborn Savior. This is what most people recall when they think of Epiphany, however in reality we are actually celebrating three mysteries: the adoration of Christ by the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, and the changing of water into wine by Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana. All three of these mysteries manifest both the divinity and the humanity of Christ, and all three are mentioned in the Magnificat antiphon at Vespers of the Feast of the Epiphany.

They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Mt 2:11)

Considering the poverty of the Holy Family, St. Joseph must have been very grateful to these Wise Men for providing gifts which, besides their symbolic value, sustained the Holy Family during the difficult days to come. These gifts may even have made possible the purchase of the doves required for the sacrifice at the Presentation of Jesus and the Purification of Mary.

This gratitude of St. Joseph is something which resonates in our hearts as we consider the generous gifts which our beloved benefactors have bestowed on us this Christmas Season. We pray that the Infant Jesus will, in turn, grant each of them many graces and blessings.

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