Epiphany of Our Lord
Today we celebrate 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.
Today 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.
The Ladies Society will meet Tuesday, January 7th at 7 pm in the Lebanon room. All members are invited to attend!
The Men’s Society will meet Thursday, January 9th at 6:30 pm in the Lebanon room. All members are invited to attend!
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.
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.