The Epiphany of the Lord

The Western Church began to celebrate the Epiphany in the 4th century where it was, and still is, associated with the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus when God revealed himself to the world through the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus. The Magi (traditionally named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar) found Jesus by following a star across the desert to Bethlehem. In the gospel of Matthew, they offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus’ birth, the gold representing his royal standing, frankincense his divinity and myrrh his human mortality. The word Epiphany means ‘to show’ or ‘to reveal’ and the feast is celebrated on 6th January. The Epiphany is seen as a continuation of the Christmas season, a season of manifesting/showing the Christ to the world. The three great manifestations of this part of Christmastide are the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus and Jesus’ first miracle at the marriage at Cana. Traditionally after the gospel of the day the deacon or cantor may sing the dates of the moveable feasts for the coming year (see the missal p.1505) We celebrate the beautiful Solemnity of the Epiphany on Wednesday 6th January at 12noon.