06 Jan Feast of Epiphany
Feast of Epiphany
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
This Feast is so important. Did you know that it was observed long before the Church began to celebrate Christmas? Hard to believe but it is a fact. Originally, and still as such in the Divine Office, the Feast celebrates three manifestations of Jesus; i.e. the Magi, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan and the Wedding Feast at Cana. The story of the Magi is particularly important in the fact that it switched the emphasis from being exclusively a Jewish affair to one that reached out to the Gentiles as well. The Magi story is found exclusively in Matthew’s Gospel which was written to a primarily Jewish audience. They were the ones who needed to be convinced that Jesus had come for all of God’s children.
Most of Matthew’s readers had accepted the Christian faith presuming only Jews could take such a step. Now they were seeing more and more non-Jews becoming Christians without first converting to Judaism. Paul, as an almost fanatical Jew, became one of the greatest leaders in this new religion. In today’s second reading he says “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Matthew agrees with Paul when he has the gentile astrologers actually find the “newborn king of the Jews” while Herod, a Jew of sorts, not only refuses to join their search, he attempts to kill the child. One can never be certain how God is going to work and through whom God is going to work. Most of what we presume about the Magi comes from sources other than the gospel. Matthew has only one fact and that is the question “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” There is nothing about camels, names of the visitors or even how many there were. Most of these details come from the prophets, most notably Micah and Isaiah. We Christians with our hindsight have made those details a part of the story.
Epiphany is about much more than the story of Magi from the east and Herod’s jealousy. It is really a Feast to celebrate the truth that Christ came to save the whole world. That might be an especially important reminder in this age when so many people treat immigrants and refugees as less than human. Many of the world’s refugees today are huddled in the same part of the world where the Magi traveled. May all of the world’s families live in peace, safety and love!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANKYOU! Father Ron and Father Joe wish to thank all you wonderful
people who remembered them at Christmas with your greetings, prayers, gifts, and baked goods. May God abundantly bless you and your families! Know that we thank God whenever we think of you.