Epiphany Sunday

V. Glorious dost thou appear in the sight of the Lord.
R. Therefore the Lord hath clothed thee with honor.

V. Let us pray.
O God the Son, highest and holiest, who didst humble thyself to share our birth and our death: Bring us with the shepherds and wise men to kneel before thy lowly cradle, that we may come to sing with thine angels thy glorious praises in heaven; where thou livest and reignest, world without end.
R. Amen.

V. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall give presents.
R. The kings of Arabia and Saba shall bring gifts.

V: Let us pray.
Almighty God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
R. Amen.

Collect: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. R. Amen.

Isiah 60:1-6 New Living Translation:
1“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.
For the glory of the LORD rises to shine on you.
2Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.
3All nations will come to your light;
mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
4“Look and see, for everyone is coming home!
Your sons are coming from distant lands;
your little daughters will be carried home.
5Your eyes will shine,
and your heart will thrill with joy,
for merchants from around the world will come to you.
They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
6Vast caravans of camels will converge on you,
the camels of Midian and Ephah.
The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense
and will come worshiping the LORD

V. The Word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

Ephesians 3:1-12 Douay-Rheims Translation:
1For this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, for you Gentiles; 2If yet you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me towards you: 3How that, according to revelation, the mystery has been made known to me, as I have written above in a few words; 4As you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,5Which in other generations was not known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit: 6That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and co-partners of his promise in Christ Jesus, by the gospel: 7Of which I am made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, which is given to me according to the operation of his power: 8To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace, to preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9And to enlighten all men, that they may see what is the dispensation of the mystery which hath been hidden from eternity in God, who created all things: 10That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church, 11According to the eternal purpose, which he made, in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
V. Here Endeth The Lesson
R. Thanks be to God.

V. Cleanse my heart and my lips, O thou Almighty God, as thou didst purge the lips of Isaiah the Prophet with a live coal; and of thy sweet mercy vouchsafe so to purify me, that I may worthily proclaim thy holy Gospel; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Alleluia:

V. The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 2:1-12 King James Translation:
R. Glory be to thee, O Lord.

1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise be to thee, O Christ.

Come and Do Homage Unto Him who is Christ the King!
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

The story of the Magi traveling from the East to see the Christ child appears only in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. The word Magi, in Greek magoi, comes from the Latin word meaning “sage.” These particular sages were possibly Zoroastrian astrologers from Persia. Upon seeing a star rising in the East (the Star of Bethlehem), they realized it was a sign that the king of the Jews had been born. According to St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. AD 107), the star shone with an inexpressible brilliance, and the sun, moon, and other stars all formed a chorus around the special star. The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem of Judea, and to Jesus’ dwelling there. Having arrived, they worshipped the infant Jesus, and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

There have been numerous traditions that have grown up about the Wise Men. Typically we think of there being three wise men because of the number of gifts, but Matthew doesn’t tell us the exact number. Since the 3rd century, Christian writers have referred to them as kings, even though Matthew doesn’t specifically tell us that they were royalty. Their names in the West, Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar date to the 6th century. The names mean: Master-of-Treasure, King, and Protect-the-King, respectively. The Syrian Church has given them the following Persian names: Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph.

St. Bede the Venerable fills in a few gaps, providing colorful details about the Magi:
The first was called Melchior. He was an old man, with white hair and a long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his King. The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity. The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was middle-aged and called Balthasar. The myrrh he held in his hand prefigured the death of the son of Man.

Various customs have developed around Epiphany. In the East, there is a solemn blessing of water. In the West, in the Middle Ages, houses were blessed on Epiphany. Holy water was sprinkled in each room. The whole family was involved. The father led the procession with a shovel of charcoal on which he burned incense and the oldest son had the bowl of holy water. The rest of the family followed along saying the rosary and/or singing hymns. While the father and oldest son were incensing and blessing the house, the youngest child carried a plate of chalk. The chalk had been blessed with a special blessing after morning Mass. The father took the blessed chalk and wrote over every room that led outside: 20 + C + M + B + 17 which stands for “Anno Domini 2017 — Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar” and means “The three Holy Kings, Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, in the year of Our Lord, 2017” or whatever the year may be. The letters C, M, and B are also thought to stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “Christ bless this home.” This tradition of blessing the doorways symbolizes the family’s commitment to welcome Christ into their homes on a daily basis through the year.

I ask you what gift do you bring for the King of Kings? How do you pay Him homage? How will you continue to pay Him homage throughout this year?

May Almighty God, who led the Wise Men by the shining of a star to find the Christ, the Light from Light, lead you also, in your pilgrimage, to find the Lord. Amen.

May God, who sent the Holy Spirit to rest upon the Only-begotten at his baptism in the Jordan River, pour out that Spirit upon you who have come to the waters of new birth. Amen.

May God, by the power that turned water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, transform your lives and make glad your hearts. Amen.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you, and remain with you forever. Amen.

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