The Solemnity of the Epiphany commemorates the revelation of Christ, the Son of God, to the nations as the Savior of the World, symbolized by Matthew in the “Magi from the East.” We are among the fruits of that harvest of grace – “Gentiles” in Gospel terms, those called to belong to Christ in the New Covenant.
The chronology of Epiphany is revealing. While the Gospels do not give us detailed, daily news of the Holy Family, Matthew suggests that their discernment of the star and their journey to follow its guidance took perhaps many months: “on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother” (Matthew 2:11). Matthew mentions a house, not the cave with the manger; and even more telling, Herod’s jealousy leads him to kill all the boys two years old and younger in and around Bethlehem.
Certainly a newborn can be distinguished from a two-year old, even with royal envy. So we do not know how long they traveled, it is likely they were not there with the shepherds as our manger scenes often depict.
Why does that matter? Because Epiphany is not only about the universality of salvation; it is also about the journey we must make to find the Lord, led by faith in what is promised but not yet seen. How long that trip may be, what obstacles we will encounter, what wrong turns we may take, who will be our companions in travel from time to time, we cannot fully know. Yet if we have a goal in mind, a destination, we persevere in making our way.
And when we feel lost or out of place, the kindness of strangers is especially welcome. This is the insight behind the connection each Epiphany with the question of the migration of peoples… not only those we see in our communities of different nationalities and beliefs, but many who are also Christians displaced by war, natural disaster, political unrest, and the search to provide for the needs of their families. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were themselves part of this movement of peoples, as Matthew tells us: “When [the Magi] had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet
might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son” (Matthew 2:13
We are ourselves descendants of immigrants and followers of Jesus, the Light of all Nations. We strive to journey towards the Father’s House, together. Is it always easy? No. Do we always know the way? No. But we pray that faith’s light may always guide us.
Blessing of the Home with Epiphany Chalk It is a very old custom on Epiphany to bless chalk that is then used to mark the homes of the faithful. This blessing asks God’s protection upon the home and its members, and upon all who visit. For the blessing, use the chalk to mark the following symbols over the doorway(s) of the home:
20 + C + M + B + 24
The numerals of the year flank the first letters of the traditional names of the Magi who presented their gifts to Christ: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. These symbols are separated by the cross, the key Christian symbol of our redemption. The letters C, M, B are sometimes also taken to be shorthand for the Latin phrase Christus Mansionem Benedicat, or “may Christ bless this dwelling.”
If you have blessed chalk from previous years, you can certainly use it for the blessing.
Along with Fr. Ron, we offer our warmest and humble thanks to each of you for your kindness in words, cards, and gifts; and most treasured, your prayers. Your support and your example of faith are daily blessings to us. Know of our grateful prayers.
Eucharistic Miracles Display; Teaching Masses As you have perhaps seen, Sacred Heart will host a traveling display of Eucharistic Miracles from around the world for several days, beginning January 19. Please see the flyers and our Sacred Heart website for more information. The experience is intended as a quiet, reflective, and prayerful time to ponder the great Gift of Jesus, truly present to us in the Eucharist until the end of time, according to his promise.
In addition, Fr. Tom will be offering a “teaching Mass” at Sacred Heart on January 17 at 6:30 p.m., and at Annunciation on March 6 at 6:30 p.m. These events are all part of our ACC Eucharistic Revival parish year.