The Feast Of Epiphany

 

On January 6 Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epipany of our Lord. The word epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphainen and means “to manifest” or “to reveal.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.

In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation.

The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.

Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.

The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”) [CCC 528]. Taken from a post on NCR here.

Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. In the United States it is observed on the first Sunday after January 1, this year on January 7.

The magi, also known as the Wise Men and the Three Kings, although the number was never specified in the Bible, came seeking the King because of a widespread belief that a universal king would come from the nation of Israel.

Gospel MT 2:1-12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

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85 Responses to The Feast Of Epiphany

    • Bud Klatsch says:

      Regretably, not only did the Jews choose not to believe, but they chose not to share this revelation of Jesus with the Gentiles.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Dora, beautiful video – complements Menagerie’s wonderful post very well.

      The significance of the gifts of the three wise men: frankincense (divinity), gold (royalty), myrrh (burial herb – i.e. sacrifice).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Carrie2 says:

        nevertoolatte (love your name), so few know the definitions of the gifts, which by the way myrrh and frankincense work together in Oriental Medicine. Thanks SD for lovely pictures and the wonderful song to remind us over and over again the Reason for the Season and no matter how many try to deny Christ’s birth and reality, and no matter how they try to shunt Christmas which is sad because Christmas and Christ will never disappear but continue to inform us about why He came and why He will greet us in Heaven.

        Like

      • ZurichMike says:

        My first grade Catholic Catechism teacher Sister Rose (back in 1966!) taught us about the meaning of gifts, and that the three Kings (depicted as Asian, Black, and White) represented the three continents that converged on the Middle East: Asia, Africa, and Europe.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Truly amazing documentary, The Star of Bethlehem. I’ve watched it several times; well worth an hour of your time:

      Liked by 3 people

  1. laurelmarycecilia says:

    Thank you ! A recognition of the King of Kings

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Yes, wise men still seek him.

    Liked by 9 people

  3. Homesteader says:

    Today is the last day to keep Christmas decorations up and lights on. Most people think Christmas is just December 25th. Their rapaciousness culminates on Christmas morn, though some cannot even wait for the dawn and open gifts Christmas Eve. It is as if it is their birthday, not His. Sigh.🤨

    I constantly remind people that December 25th is Christmas DAY and marks the beginning of the Christmas Season, not the end. They do listen and adjust their thinking accordingly.

    Happy Feast of The Epiphany everybody! 🌲

    Liked by 15 people

  4. FofBW says:

    Thank you once again Menagerie for giving us another opportunity to have a spiritual experience away from the chaos of the world we live in.

    Liked by 15 people

  5. no-nonsense-nancy says:

    Thank you Menagerie, this is beautiful and a very nice morning devotion for me. I too am so happy and thankful that God has been allowed to return to our White House. What is better than the President and the Vice President praying together in the Oval office!

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Shark24 says:

    I had the blessing to spend Christmas in Rome with my wife before returning to Abu Dhabi for a few more weeks of a work assignment. I attended Epiphany Mass yesterday here at St Joseph’s and it was a beautiful experience celebrating the Mass and singing Christmas carols in the desert. The Holy Spirit is active in both places I can tell you that. God bless everyone on CTH.

    Liked by 15 people

    • mariposa323 says:

      Good to know ! Thanks for sharing ! I was in Dubai in the 90,s and attended the one church there and such strong faith was there in that Christian community . We need a church in Saudi ASAP !

      Liked by 6 people

      • Shark24 says:

        Here’s the Mass schedule just for fun. Every Mass I’ve attended here has been standing room only with over 800 people attending. Happy Epiphany!
        http://stjosephsabudhabi.org/mass-schedule/

        Liked by 2 people

      • Carrie2 says:

        mariposa, in Saudi Arabia may happen sooner than we think. I knew when we decided to visit Malaya that it was a super owned muslim country but what a stupendous surprise to find that in Kuala Lumpur SEVEN GREAT Catholic Churches and our hotel within a 6-7 mins. walk to the Cathedral and it was a fantastic Mass with so many Catholics of many colors and there from many cultures and many in native costumes. They were so gracious and welcoming to all and this in the midst of a serious muslim-owned country.

        Like

  7. Publius2016 says:

    May our President dine with the wise today in Camp David and continue to lead our nation with the Lord’s blessings.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Back from twitter to CTH TO READ HERE AGAIN! Thanks Sundance!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Bendix says:

    Glad to see recognition of the entire Christmas season. That’s something I find charming about women I meet who have roots in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Those cultures are very into Three Kings Day, such an important part of Christmas.
    That so resonated with me as a child. Three VIPs, coming to see a little baby in a stable. Following a star.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. Angelone says:

    Every year this day reminds me to be like the wise men, listening to that still small voice that says follow My path for I’ve laid it out for you, and that path begins and ends with Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Alison says:

    Thank you, Menagerie, for encouraging us to learn & worship every aspect of Christ’s holy birth.
    The depictions of the Feast of Epiphany in these art treasures are exquisite. Artists worthy of such Holy scenes.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. Thank you for this great article! To this day people seek him in may different ways. Ones who find him are the wise men! Reviving the spiritual in us!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      And as I learned in Albuquerque using the luminarias to light the way, so I have two I light and put on our porch by the door.

      Like

  13. Ivehadit says:

    Yes, the decorations stay up until Epiphany and I like to have one (electric) candle in the window to signify “the Way” for the Wisemen…like the star. Waiting and watching! Love Epiphany!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonyE says:

      The candle… yep…

      Back in the old country, tradition was to leave cookies, milk and cognac (bunch of drunks we Spaniards are… eh?) in the entry foyer just next to the door. The Magi are supposed to deliver their gifts there. The kids would go to bed early so we could get up early and play with the expected hoard of toys!

      In the morning we kids would go out there and find a bunch of gifts, and often some of the milk, cognac and cookies were gone. I used to get loads and loads of really cool toys! We kids would burn the phone lines calling the cousins to get the low down on the booty.

      Chez moi, only the cognac was gone. ALL OF IT. The cookies and milk were untouched. Fine with me, That was my breakfast while the grown ups slept in.

      My mom tells me they had to be very quiet drinking all the cognac so as not to wake me up because my bedroom was the first off the foyer. ;-D

      Ay! Happy Drunks. Happy Days.

      Like

  14. Troublemaker10 says:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie2 says:

      troublemaker10, all of these so beautiful Christmas song at Midnight Mass makes the world outside a wonderland of music, starts, and amazement.

      Like

  15. Doug says:

    Now its Carnival Time in NOLA! Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

    Like

  16. Timmy-the-Ute says:

    Does anyone else Chalk bless their house for Epiphany? 20+C+M+B+18

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bendix says:

      Did not know that was a thing.

      Like

      • Timmy-the-Ute says:

        Popular in places like Poland. Using blessed chalk you mark your door frame. The numbers are the year (2018), and the letters are the initials of the Wise men.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ZurichMike says:

          This is also typical in Austria, southern Germany, and the mountainous cantons of Switzerland. Teams of 3 Wise Men (with their attendants) go from door to door. Each team collects money for charity, and then chalk the doorframe.

          Like

      • Taximom07 says:

        Yes, my daughter is married to an Anglican priest and they are Chalk blessing their new home tomorrow with some of the parish in attendance, with a reception to follow. I remember my parents doing this with a Catholic priest years ago.

        Like

    • auntiefran413 says:

      I had never heard of such a thing. Is it an ethnic tradition?

      Like

      • Deb says:

        It’s popular among certain Catholic and Orthodox groups. Others such as Anglicans have retained the tradition.

        Liked by 2 people

      • ZurichMike says:

        Very common in Austria, southern Germany, and the mountainous cantons of Switzerland. Teams of 3 Wise Men and their attendants go door to door collecting money for charity (and maybe get a little nip of schnapps to boot!) and then mark the doorframe.

        Like

    • Menagerie says:

      The priest blessed the chalk to give out a mass this evening. Our parish has done this for several years now.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Janet in UK says:

    I was thinking about the wise men today, and how they were warned not to return to Herod because of the threat he posed, and then the anguish of the mothers in Bethlehem when Herod slaughtered the infants. It’s kind of off topic, but my mind went to all the threats surrounding President Trump and how many wish for his destruction. Like Herod, who killed all the children in his desire to destroy one, those who threaten your President will tear down anything and anyone to destroy him. For some hours now I’ve been feeling a burden on me to pray for his safety, specifically today. I have no idea why, but I wanted to share this somewhere I knew there would be others who could join me in prayers for his protection.
    The Lord bless him, and keep him.
    The Lord make his face shine upon him, and be gracious unto him.
    The Lord lift up his countenance upon him, and give him peace.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ZurichMike says:

      There is a post upthread from grandmaintexas with link to an article about Helena (mother of Emperor Constantine) and author Evelyn Waugh’s prayer, as told through Helena in the book, to convert Constantine to Christianity. Tellingly, the “wise” men were (1) late to the party, (2) stopped to talk to Herod first — which set out the following waves of violence against the innocent, and (3) brought gifts that Christ did not really need. But the Wise Men were accepted, knelt side by side with shepherds and cattle. Moral: the path to Christ is long, difficult, and “wisdom” may not only be unnecessary, but counterproductive to faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Menagerie says:

        What always strikes me is that in humility and awe, the birth of Christ drew together the wise, wealthy and powerful magi, the simple shepherds, and the angels, even the animals. They came from m distant countries and nearby fields.

        All living creatures united by Christ, reflected from the first moments of his birth, creatures of heaven and all of earthly society came together in a stable in a small town in a remote Roman occupied country with political machinations going on all around to destroy this little King.

        His birth was improbable and unnoticed but by these few, (aside from the Heavenly Host, of course), his life was of no impact at the time, but to his few followers. His death should have ended the small ripple of his life.

        Every one of his apostles but one was martyred. Early Christians were persecuted and slaughtered. Yet the Body and Blood of Christ sustained His people through all the trials, all the centuries.

        Unity, so beautifully reflected by the portrayals of the Nativity and Epiphany, is possible. We are all meant to kneel before the manger together, then rise and go home a different way, changed forever by the birth of a King.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. sunnydaze says:

    Great post. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Cuppa Covfefe says:

    There is a scene in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” where the three Magi are looking for a place to rest, and happen upon Amahl and his mother’s house. Amahl is crippled, walks with a cane, and can barely help his widowed mother with her chores and keeping up their “farm”. Noticing their gifts of Gold, Myrrh, and Frankincense, she asks them who they are for, to which they describe Jesus, whom they have not yet met (yet were led to). Much like many of us, she’s focused on her own situation (having a “Mary and Martha moment”, I guess) and doesn’t know that the Magi are going to worship our Saviour Lord Jesus. They explain that to her, in a very touching and beautiful Aria.

    The opera itself was inspired by the painting “Adoration of the Magi” (Hieronymus Bosch ca. 1470),

    and composed by Gian Carlo Menotti. It was the first Opera performed on TV, comissioned by NBC in 1951. The original broadcast has surfaced on YouTube (with Chet Allen and Rosemary Kuhlmann), but the video quality, sadly, is not so great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlg81twKXbY .
    There is a newer version, with excellent audio and video, but the audio and video are slightly off sync. The melodies, harmonies, and counterpoint of the soprano with the Magi are memorable and moving, with their descending motif crossing the soprano’s rising, almost anguished plea for help for her son.

    It’s well worth watching the whole thing (and it does have a happy ending). Wish it were still on TV every year like it was when I was young (so long ago 🙂 ). Here is the “Have you seen a child” scene:

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The Epiphany is called, or used to be called (now nobody knows), Little Christmas in North Carolina.

    The celestial epiphany happens at this time, around the 6th of January. It is the day that the human naked eye can actually tell that the winter days are becoming longer. Having an epiphany is about receiving new light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Conservativeinny says:

      When I was growing up, we called it Little Christmas so did most of our neighbors. We have always left up our all our decorations including the tree until 2 days after.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Melanie says:

    I have my holiday party every year on the Epiphany. One last feast day, Christmas tree, wassail, and singing of songs. Taking my pre-party nap right now!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Bob Thoms says:

    Thank you all for connecting me to my lost Catholicism…………

    Liked by 3 people

  23. When I was a child our Christmas tree stayed up until the Epiphany, January 6th. Next afternoon the Girl Scout troops in town gathered at the elementary baseball field where we had a “tree burning” , just a small bonfire of Christmas trees while we sang Christmas carols. That’s how our Christmas season ended.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. renee oka says:

    Epiphany Blessing of the Home Prayer:

    God of all time and space, with Christmas joy we praise you for the year gone by and for the year we have begun.

    May this home we have made be filled with kindness to one another, with hospitality to guests and with abundant care for every stranger.

    By the gentle light of a star guide home all who seek You on paths of wonder, peace and charity.

    Fill the year with good gifts for all the world as we join with the angels in proclaiming Your praise: Glory in heaven and peace on Earth, now and forever. Amen.

    Like

  25. churchmouse says:

    Protestants also celebrate Epiphany.

    Two readers above mentioned Anglicans. In England, Epiphany is the traditional Twelfth Night of Christmas.

    Lutherans celebrate Epiphany:

    https://www.lcms.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=446

    So do the Reformed (Calvinist) Churches:

    https://worship.calvin.edu/resources/resource-library/epiphany-resource-guide/

    As do the Methodists:

    http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-special-days-of-the-christian-year-does-the-church-celebrate

    Like

  26. Conservativeinny says:

    For those in my he Hudson Valley NY, the radio station 91.1 this year and in years past plays Christmas music up until Little Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

  27. ZurichMike says:

    Thank you, Menagerie, for keeping the liturgical cycle in the forefront!

    Liked by 1 person

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