We saw His star at its rising and have come to do Him homage. (Mt.2:2)
Vidimus stellam eius in oriente, et venimus adorare Dominum.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this feast was for centuries fixed on January 6th, which falls on a Monday this year. Whereas in the Ordinary Form the bishops’ conferences were given the option of moving this feast to the Sunday after the Feast of the Holy Family or the Sunday after the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, if it should fall on a Sunday, as it did in 2012. Last year in 2013 both practices coincided, but not this year. Therefore, we can say that the full twelve days of Christmas are celebrated each year only when the traditional calendar is followed or the rare year that January 6th falls on a Sunday. To make matters even more complicated in some countries the Epiphany remains fixed on January 6th but not in others like the United States. On Sunday, January 5th in the Extraordinary Form we will celebrate the Feast of the Most holy Name of Jesus at the 11:00 a.m. Mass and the Feast of the Epiphany at 7:30 a.m. on Monday.
The Feast of the Epiphany always captivates the imagination. Who were these wise men, or as tradition calls them, kings? Actually, little is known. We know that they first consulted King Herod; we know that they returned home by a different route so as to avoid leading Herod to the Holy Family; we know that they followed a star, found the Lord, and then offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Nevertheless, this little tells us a lot in our own journey of faith. Remember, what happened then continues to happen today.
Tradition gives names to the three kings: Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. That they would seek out the savior is a sign for all times that we are created by God to seek out and to discover the Truth. God wills that we come to Him, and that we find salvation in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Church. Yet, many times, we don’t put out much effort. We fail to readily turn from sin, or pray faithfully, or study about our faith. We are contented with the minimal. The three kings were not. They exhausted themselves in travel, outsmarted King Herod, followed diligently the star; and, finally, they offered their hearts, minds, and souls to the Lord in homage, which is clear by the precious gifts they brought. We must do the same. To worship God, to adore Him, is the complete offering of who we are into His service for His greater honor and glory. That is what it’s all about. As we begin another year in the Lord’s service, each of us is called to renew our complete, undivided, consecration to our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, His Son, our savior and the savior of the entire world. We must promise to be His best, most devoted, disciples. He is counting on us.
The gifts the three kings offered, in fact, tell us about Jesus mirrored in their faith. The gold signifies that Jesus is King; the frankincense that He is God; the myrrh that He is our only hope to eternal life in the Resurrection. In giving to God, we receive back far more than we have given. Come, let us truly adore Him!
Yours in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
The Rev. Mark G. Mazza, Chaplain