OFFICE FOR LITURGY

of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford

The Epiphany of the Lord (Year C)

In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the Time of Manifestation, or Showing. Today is the ‘Feast of the Manifestation’, or the Showing of the Saviour to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all nations being welcomed at the New Temple of the New Covenant - the child in the manger.
Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim God’s plan was to extend his salvation to men and women of every nation, of every time and every place - including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviour’s birth revealed at last to us.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
 
This is a tremendously beautiful reading, and one with great power. It is poetic, and you should see it not in terms of narrative, but as a great picture or image in your mind. Imagine yourself to be a film director, and see in your mind’s eye the scene that Isaiah describes in his vision. First we have Jerusalem, the city of Israel, in a bright spotlight, set out against the darkness over the rest of the earth. But gradually out of that darkness is streaming a vast procession of nations and peoples, drawn to the brightness of the Saviour’s star: from every direction, a huge crowd, impossible to count, converges on the Holy City, which throbs with light as the gifts of all the earth arrive. The reading is a huge crescendo - growing greater and greater from the small light over Jerusalem to the throngs of camels and gold and incense and the song of praise of the Lord on the lips of every man and woman of the earth. This is so beautiful and powerful it should leave you and the congregation breathless at the end!
 
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3.5-6.
Saint Paul is writing to the pagans, whom some considered could not receive the news of the Messiah’s birth because they were not members of the people of Israel. Paul is utterly opposed to this, be cause now all are included in the body of Jesus Christ, gathered in the one Spirit. If the First Reading was a poetic exposition of the theme of the feast, this is a more intellectual exposition. The words “revelation” and “mystery” are very important in this reading: the mystery, which is the secret plan of God, is the salvation of all nations, which has been revealed to Paul, and to us. Read this in the manner of one delivering an important declaration, with utter clarity and very deliberately. The first sentence is introductory, but the phrase beginning “This mystery, that has now been revealed...” is the key to the whole reading and should be delivered very carefully. Also underline in your proclamation the words “...parts of the same body...” and later the words “...same promise...” since these are at the heart of what Paul has to say.
Hieronymous Bosch"The Epiphany"

From the Catechism

The Epiphany
CCC 528, 724
 
528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel").
 
Christ the light of the nations
CCC 280, 529, 748, 1165, 2466, 2715
 
The Church, sacrament of human unity
CCC 60, 442, 674, 755, 767, 774-776, 781, 831

Gospel Wordsearch

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