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.”

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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

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

Meeting God in Life

Epiphany1Several years ago 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. Continue reading

More than Just Three Kings Day

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

Revealed at home; revealed in the world

all-kinds-doorsNow that New Year’s has arrived our greeting is “Happy New Year.” In the days before December 25th we greeted each other with “Merry Christmas.” Did  you know that the Christmas season begins with the Christmas Eve masses and then moves through Holy Family Sunday, the Solemnity of the Epiphany, and continues to include the Baptism of the Lord – which we will celebrate next weekend.

Christmas through the Baptism of the Lord is all part of one season,  when the church is of one mind – to proclaim that born unto us is a savior – and then to begin to unpack what that will mean for us. The birth is celebrated at the Christmas masses, but the meaning is revealed in the celebrations that follow.  It is all connected. It is all of one voice. Continue reading