TODAY, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. This observance was originally called the “Feast of the Wise Men’’ from The East, who arrived in Bethlehem to adore the newborn Messiah.
Epiphany means “to make known’’ or “to reveal.’’ Today’s celebration focuses on our Lord’s manifestation to all men and women of goodwill of his divinity, albeit through his human form— in the person of the infant Jesus Christ. The Gospel reading today reminds us of the magi— the number, however, was not specified in the Scripture— who represent the Gentiles and all non-Jewish peoples of the world, paid homage to Jesus. This act of worship by the wise men, which is related to the prophecy of Simeon, that this child Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles’’ (Luke 2:32), was one of the first signs that Jesus was sent by the Father to save all mankind, regardless of race or gender, and that the work of God in the world is universal.
This day is set aside by the Church to remember that our Lord Jesus came for all and not for a select few. The light of Christ illumines all men and women and must likewise be radiated by all who believe in him so that more and more people may come to know, worship, and serve him and thereby share in the gift of salvation.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany is a fitting time to nourish our oneness and Christian fellowship and to heal all wounds of division in our communities brought about by man’s sinfulness. We thank the good Lord for shedding the light of his love and life upon us. We pray for his continued presence among us so that we may not only come to worship him, who is the true “Light of the world’’ but also radiate his saving light to all by our witnessing to his Gospel values.
Happy Solemnity of the Epiphany!
P. S. There is a beautiful Catholic tradition of a House Blessing associated with the Feast of the Epiphany. We invite you to adopt this custom in your family. The family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, and our joys and sorrows.
The traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 21. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. And, they also abbreviate the Latin words, : “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross.
Instructions for Blessing the Home
Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 21 while saying:
May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen
The Chalk will be blessed in the church on Saturday January 2nd at the 5 pm Mass. After each Mass, you will be able to pick up one chalk and take it with you to your home. May this tradition bring so much peace and invite God’s blessing on you in 2021.