Epiphany of Our Lord
Last week, we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Eastern Churches this feast is known by two names: Epiphany and Theophany. The Greek word, ”Epiphany” means “a manifestation” or “an apparition” and the word, “Theophany, “ an appearance of God.” On this day we celebrate the appearance or manifestation of Christ among us as God’s Son.
The feast of Epiphany was first celebrated in the East around the third century and eventually was adopted by the Western Church. In the Eastern Churches the celebration of the Epiphany originally centered on both the Birth of our Lord and his baptism. When the later Western feast of Christmas was introduced into the East, Christmas became the feast of the Birth of our Lord and the Epiphany, that of his baptism.
The feast of the Epiphany is intimately connected with the mystery of our Lord’s birth. The Child who was born for us and the Son who was given to us is manifested before us to be the Son of the Most High. Christ begins his public life with his baptism by John in the Jordan River. At His baptism, Christ is seen as the fulfillment of John’s preaching: he is the Messiah and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Father and the Holy Spirit are witnesses to Christ for he is the beloved Son of the Father and upon him the Spirit rests. Thus at the baptism of the Lord we have not only an epiphany or manifestation of Christ as God’s Son, but also a theophany or manifestation of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The feast of the Epiphany reminds us not only of the baptism of Christ, but also of our own baptism. St. Ephrem in his Hymn on Epiphany says: “...our blessed Lord came to be baptized with sinners and because of his glory the heavens were opened. The One who purifies all creatures desiring to cleanse them, went into the waters and sanctified them for our baptism.” It is for this reason that we bless water on this day. Originally, the mystery of baptism was celebrated on this feast and the waters blessed were those of baptism. We celebrate the manifestation or epiphany of the Trinity at the baptism of Christ as well as the manifestation of the glory of God in the person of the Lord come into this world, that is to say, the manifestation of Christ, the Word of God, among us. Let us then call to mind the grace of God who has appeared for the salvation of all, and thank him for the baptism through which we have been begotten in the Spirit and through which we have put on Christ and become children of the Father.
SAVE THE DATE
Deacon Wissam Akiki will be ordained to the Holy Order of Priesthood through the Imposition of Hands of His Excellency, Bishop Elias A. Zaidan at St. Raymond’s Cathedral Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm. Reception following at the Cedars Hall. Invitations will be mailed soon.
All kitchen volunteers who work Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays are invited to a meeting with His Excellency, Bishop Elias A. Zaidan on Tuesday, January 14th at noon. Lunch will be served. Please make every effort to attend.
Sincere thanks and appreciation to all those parishioners and friends who sent Christmas greetings, gifts and well wishes for the New Year to Chorbishop Moussa Joseph!
The Seventh annual Catholic Men for Christ conference is coming to St. Louis on Saturday, February 1st at the Peabody Opera House, featuring Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Edward Rice and Fr. Don Calloway. For more information, go to www.catholicmenforchrist.org.
WATCH THE GROUND BREAKING DOCUMENTARY OF OUR FAITH AT THE MARONITE
Catholicism is a groundbreaking Documentary Film Series and multimedia Study Program. The 10, 50-minute DVD episodes take viewers around the world and deep into the Faith, spanning over 50 locations in 15 countries—stunningly filmed in high definition.
These will be shown two episodes at a time, with a break in between, on Monday evenings, beginning January 26 through February 23, at the Maronite Heritage Center. Starting time is yet to be determined.
Catholicism illustrates the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Catholic Faith in an epic media experience. We will witness a vision of the Catholic Faith that has never before been seen. From the lands of the Bible to the great shrines of Europe, from the heartland of America to the mysteries of Asia and the beating heart of Africa, see the passion and glory of the Faith that claims over 1.1 billion of the earth’s people.
This magnificent video series is hosted by Father Robert Barron. Fr. Barron is recognized as “one of the Church’s best messengers.” He is a prominent theologian, author, speaker and cultural commentator. This is open to parishioners and non-parishioners. Please bring friends and neighbors. All showings will be in the Maronite Heritage Center. Please mark your calendars. We hope to see you there.
SUNDAY, March 9th 2014 is the St. Raymond’s Ladies Fashion Show. This event includes lunch, a fashion show and shopping. We are in need of girls and women models ages 6 and up. We also need vendors for the show. If anyone has any suggestions, please contact Gina Fanetti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-704-1149.
Chorbishop Moussa Joseph and Deacon Louis Peters will join the bishops and clergy of the Eparchy for the annual spiritual retreat from Monday, January 20, 2014 till Friday, January 24, 2014 at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Please keep them all in your prayers during this time of prayer and renewal.