The Epiphany gospel this Sunday, Jan. 8, 2011, is a continuation of the Christmas story in Matthew's prologue to his gospel. This story is is portrayed by the coming of the Three Wise Men from the East to do Him homage. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.
The Greek word “epiphaneia” means “appearance” and in the western
churches Epiphany commemorates the appearance (or revelation) to the
Gentiles of Jesus as Savior. It is an ancient feast. It is known to have
been observed earlier than 194 AD, and is therefore older than the
celebration of Christmas.
Let's start with a question many are asking. Is Epiphany - Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 - a Holy Day of Obligation? Fr. John Zuhlsdorf explains in very clear terms.
Manifestation of Christ to the World
We celebrate this Sunday the Epiphany of the Lord —by which we mean the Manifestation of Christ to the World. But just who were the Three Kings? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reveals just who they really were.
Fr. Alex McAllister SDS explains how Matthew in his Gospel presents us with two contrasting approaches.
God reveals himself through the Scriptures and in the words of the
Prophets to the People of Israel but He also reveals himself through
natural phenomena such as the star the wise men followed. So the good news of Epiphany,
Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. points out, is that Jesus is the
revelation of God as one who offers Himself to us in love. Jesus is the
epiphany of the invisible God in all the events of His life: as a
helpless child lying in a manger, as a young man dying on the cross --
the ultimate revelation that God's glory is love.
But if we read the story carefully, we realize that far from being a children's tale,
it is a tragic adult story. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB says the battle
lines are drawn and the forces are being marshaled. A child is born at
the same time as a death-dealing power rules. It is a classic story about
innocence in the midst of evil, innocence betrayed by those who should
have cared. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. elaborates more.
Bearing and Accepting Gifts
The Magi Kings met the baby Jesus. And then they gave Him their greatest gifts. Fr. Phil Bloom reflects the significance of the bearing and giving of these gifts.
Paul Dion, STL explains further that by giving gifts, they came to know
His reason for being better. He gets the intuition that this is a way
that God has of revealing Himself to us. By giving gifts, they came to know Him better.
Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us that we too owe Jesus a gift. But what gifts? Fr. John J. Ludvik suggests the gift of love to honor the King.
Or why not adopt this platform - find the lost, the hungry, the
broken, and the sorrowful? Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says Jesus may be in
our caring for a sick spouse or relative. He may be in the outcast who
reach out for us. He is in all these and countless more places. If we
are wise, we will spend our lives seeking Him out, wherever He is.
Living the Epiphany Story
is about power and what power we worship. There is the power of the
word of God. There is the power of kingdoms, territories and comfort
zones. There is the power of the child of the Star who comes to liberate
and free. There is the power of worship and pilgrimage in search of the
truth. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS challenges us with this question: What powers do we serve?
This was not lost among the early Christians. The ancient "way" of
Christian life is repentance and belief in the Gospel, practically and
profoundly realized in the sacramental life. Father Cusick emphasizes
that the sacraments are the "Epiphany"
or manifestation of the Lord for every human being. In the sacraments
the whole "glory" of Christ "shines out" so that all nations may fall
down in praise before the Lord.
And now that that the Feast of the Epiphany has closed the season of
Christmastide, Benedict Rimando, M.J. reminds us all that it is time to
put it into practice the message brought to us by Jesus in His
expression of mission. The holidays are over! The work of Christmas begins. We end several weeks of holidays, vacation and feasting. Daniel Bean asks the question: How's your transition going?
Personal "Epiphany" Moments
times in our lives, we get a thud in our head, a stirring in our heart,
an unexpected "Aha!" moment. We call them epiphanies. We share three
such stories like that this week. First Marion Fernandez-Cueto relates
how opening your hands can open your heart. She shares this in "What I Learned at the Stoplight." Then Bo Sanchez talks about the blessed moment when he learned this important lesson: "Stop Trying To Fix People."
And third, we bring you the story of actor Gary Graham. He had been a
participant in three abortions in his life - even paying for their costs
- until his own Epiphany moment. Now he condemns what he calls a woman’s “Right to Choose…to Kill Her Baby.”
And he did this despite knowing that by writing about his personal
experience and rejection of abortion, he would be incurring the ire of
not a few among the Hollywood elite.
Mystery, Conversion, Sabbath and Praying to Saints
the secular world a “mystery” is something which baffles or eludes
understanding, something which lies undisclosed. And the usual attitude
of the world toward mystery is to resolve it, get to the bottom of, or
uncover it. Msgr. Charles Pope explains that in the Christian and
especially the Catholic world, “mystery” is something a bit different.
From the Washington Post, we get the conversion story of columnist Bob Arscott.
Before he converted to Catholicism, he believed his life was the way it
was supposed to be. Converting to Catholicism, he explains here, was a
challenging but rewarding decision.
And Taylor Marshall answers two Catrechetical question. First is a question from a Protestant reader who asks why Catholics have to ask saints to pray for them. He offers his usual solid defense from perspective of both the Bible and Traditions. Next is a question: "May Catholics work on Sundays?" Great Catechesis can be found here.
In closing, here's an intereasting look at the most common grocery
labels: Enriched and Fortified, Gluten Free, Local, Trans Fat, Zero
Calories, etc. We tell you what they mean and when they matter.
Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher & Editor in chief
BURNING QUESTION: Why don't we invoke saints from the Old Testament?
FEATURED BLOG: Why Do We Ask Saints to Pray for Us?
PASTORAL HISPANA: La Epifania es la fiesta que nos hace orgullosos de ser Catolicos
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