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The Magi, Henry Siddons Mowbray

the epiphany of the lord

Epiphany is January 6th, traditionally marking the end of the 12 days of Christmas; however, in many U.S. dioceses the liturgical celebration is transferred to the nearest Sunday. Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts and one of the most important. Historically, Epiphany celebrated four things: Jesus’ nativity, the Magi’s visit to the Holy Family, Jesus’ baptism, and Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana. Each biblical event is a theophany, or epiphany, a special manifestation of Jesus Christ to mankind. The relationship between these events is beautifully described in this antiphon from the Divine Office: “This day is the Church joined unto the Heavenly Bridegroom, since Christ hath washed away her sins in Jordan; the wise men hasten with gifts to the marriage supper of the King; and they that sit at meat together make merry with water turned into wine. Alleluia.” In the Latin Church the visit of the Three Kings is the primary focus of Epiphany, symbolizing the revelation of Jesus Christ as a light for the Gentile nations and the Savior born for the redemption of all mankind.

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God dwells among his people in the flesh of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem of old, present in the Eucharist in our day. Like the Magi, let us bring the gifts of our worship before him in praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.”

Magnificat Magazine
The Adoration of the Shepherds, c.1650 (oil on canvas) by Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618-82)

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.

Gospel of Matthew 2:1-2
The Adoration of the Magi by Edward Burne-Jones (1904)

… 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.”

Gospel of Matthew 2:11
The Monforte Altarpiece, by Hugo van der Goes, ca. 1470

Magi, holy wise men, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family, pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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