Assumptions

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2:2)

This reading resonates with assumptions. Heck, we hear the beginning of the verses and think to ourselves, “Sure, I know this one. This is the story of the three kings.” I mean, we all know the story, right?  Star of the New King. Magi from East. Herod. Directions to Bethlehem. Instructions for the Magi to go, but “ya’ll come back.” Baby Jesus. Did homage. Gifts. Dreams. Home by another way.  We all know the story. Or at least we assume we know the story from Scripture.  Continue reading

What are you seeking?

This weekend we celebrate the visit of the magi to the child Jesus. It is often referred to and celebrated as “Three Kings Day” especially in Latino and Mediterranean cultures. Its official name is Epiphany, from the Greek epiphania, meaning that which is revealed, unveiled. The meaning in Greek is reflected in our English language definition: (1): a usually sudden manifestation of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. There is a certain excitement and energy that accompanies the moment of epiphany. Continue reading

Visit of the Magi

Next Sunday is the The Epiphany of the Lord in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: Continue reading

Fishing: the Word

Fishers-of-men-iconThe account begins with a wide-angle view: the press of the crowd leading to Jesus’ teaching in a natural amphitheater from a boat on the lake. Quickly, however, events on the boat move to the forefront and the crowd disappears completely from view. The important interaction here is between Jesus and Peter, who represent the ones who respond positively to Jesus. Continue reading

The Solemnity of Epiphany

Epiphany1January 6th is the day we typically call “Three Kings Day,” more formally known as The Epiphany.  Epiphany is derived from a Greek word ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, meaning “manifestation,” and refers, generally, to Jesus being manifested to the gentile visitors from the East.  But in truth it is more complicated than that.  What is striking is that there are a variety of liturgical celebrations and dates that are all part of our rich Catholic tradition surrounding “Epiphany.”

Continue reading

The Richness of Epiphany

Today we celebrate the visit of the magi to the child Jesus. It is often referred to and celebrated as “Three Kings Day” especially in Latino and Mediterranean cultures. Its official name is Epiphany, from the Greek epiphania, meaning that which is revealed, unveiled. The meaning in Greek is reflected in our English language definition: (1): a usually sudden manifestation of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. There is a certain excitement and energy that accompanies the moment of epiphany. Continue reading

Epiphany: more than three Kings

January 6th is the day we typically call “Three Kings Day,” more formally known as The Epiphany. Epiphany is derived from a Greek word ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, meaning “manifestation,” and refers, generally, to Jesus being manifested to the gentile visitors from the East. But in truth it is more complicated than that. What is striking is that there are a variety of liturgical celebrations and dates that are all part of our rich Catholic tradition surrounding “Epiphany.” Continue reading

As we are…

Last century (literally) I was researching for my master’s thesis on early Franciscan Missions. One of the really interesting aspects of the early Franciscan missions was the one to China. The friars arrived in China in 1292 and John of Montecorvino was the first bishop of Beijing. But all that is besides the point. In the course of my research I ran across The Travels of Marco Polo in which he describes his travels in the far east. I was scanning the text to see if he had any mention of contact with the friars or the Christian monasteries that dotted the silk road in those days.While he had no mention of either – he did recount a most interesting rendition of the account of the Three Magi. Marco Polo wrote that he encountered this version in Persia (modern-day Iran). In that account there are three magi – but they are not traveling together. Each is on his own journey following the star to Bethlehem. Melchior is an older man, Balthazar is an adult in his middle years, and Gaspar is a young man just reaching adulthood. Continue reading

Thin Epiphanies

thin-placeThis Sunday’s Gospel (John 1:29-34) speaks of the Baptism of the Lord, yet that was celebrated this past Monday. Some of the more observant among you might be thinking “Isn’t the Baptism of the Lord a Sunday celebration?”  Most years it is, unless Epiphany falls on January 7 th or 8 th which it did this year. In such cases, the Baptism of the Lord celebration falls on Monday. Not sure what to make of that, but there it is. It made we wonder why the Baptism of the Lord is so connected to the Epiphany. Continue reading

Our North Star

ancient-navigation-toolsIn the beginning – the Garden of Paradise, all is pristine, pure, good, whole, and holy

But… then came the human contribution to creation: sin.

What was God’s reaction?  Many people respond “to kick them out of paradise.” But, God’s first response is a question:  where are you? Strange. It is not as if God did not know. And if God already knew, what was God really asking / seeking? Continue reading