Epiphany of the Lord

Tuesday 6 January 2008

The Epiphany of the Lord
1st Class, White
Gloria; Credo; Preface of the Epiphany
Proper Communicantes


Deus, qui hodiérna die Unigéntium tuum géntibus stella duce revelásti : concéde propítius; ut, qui iam te ex fide cognóvimus, usque ad contemplándam spéciem tuæ celsitúdinis perducámur. Per eúndem Dóminum.

Let us Pray:

O God, who on this day didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles by the guidance of a star: graciously grant, that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be led even to contemplate the beauty of Thy Majesty. Through the same...


The word "Epiphany" means "manifestation". The Church in the Mass, commemorates a triple manifestation of Christ: 1) to the Magi, that is, to the Gentiles; 2) in His Baptism, when the Voice from Heaven declared: "This is My Beloved Son"; and 3) in the miracle of changing water into wine at Cana.

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 "worth of the heritage of Israel") (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 528).

20 + C + M + B + 09

...consider the old custom of inscribing "C.M.B." and the year in chalk above your door lintel. The "C.M.B." either stands for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) or the Latin prayer Christus Mansionem Benedicat ("May Christ bless this dwelling!"). Fr Nicholas described this a few years back at Roman Miscellany.


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