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The Epiphany of the Lord
The Epiphany of the Lord
Celebrating the Octave of Christmas with a family
I often reflect, as I am sure many of you do, on how wise my parents were. Take Christmas midnight Mass for example. Mum and Dad would put us to bed a little earlier than usual, then at about 11.15pm Mum would wake us up - we would each have a little Christmas present waiting for us at the bottom of our bed which meant we were instantly wide awake - a damp face cloth would be applied and off we would go to Mass (where in earlier years we would likely fall asleep). Then back home and back to bed and of course we were tired so we would sleep in a little later, a God send to Mum and dad on Christmas Morning. Then we would go to 9am Mass (being allowed to take one of our presents to open and show baby Jesus in the Crib) come home have breakfast and open our presents, play with them and then have lunch. So sensible - showing how the Church's traditions actually help busy parents to look after the family.
We would never have all our presents on Christmas Morning some would be saved until today, the Epiphany (the day the three Kings gave baby Jesus presents). And we would always have a big Epiphany Meal. Thus thanks to our parents we experienced the Octave of Christmas as the Church intends as one long celebration. We should always thank God for the wisdom of our parents and where possible imitate them.
God's self revelation to the world
The wise men in today's Gospel are representatives of the whole world recognising Jesus, as the shepherds represented the Jewish people, so the wise men represent us. Jesus shows himself, reveals himself to them (which is what epiphany means) and with Gold and incense and myrrh the wise men recognise the King who is God and who has come to suffer and die for mankind.
On this feast we are reminded to listen to the Angels to follow a star, in other words to respond to the gift of faith, the voice of the Church, to journey, to leave what we know and come and recognise the same Christ Jesus in Holy Communion.
People sometimes say "Oh God is everywhere - you can pray and worship anywhere". Up to a point. Imagine if the Shepherds had said to the Angels - no thanks we'll stay here we can worship on the hill side. Or the wise men decided "Oh it's too far and anyway God is everywhere".
That phrase "God is everywhere" is a vague, unthinking, foggy concept, not a good idea when we are dealing with Jesus the only way to Eternal life. Salvation is too important. It says Christ was born at Bethlehem, that babe is God and man; it says Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, here at Mass in St. Joseph's, in the tabernacle in Holy Communion. God is present. Come let us adore him.