Showing posts with the label Magi

Jesus, the Magi, and Me

(Our Lady of Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Saturday afternoon. (January 2, 2015))

Statues of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar started out across from the nativity scene in our parish church. They were lurking by the poinsettias during Friday's Mass — the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God — and no, Catholics do not worship Mary. We're not supposed to, anyway.1

Getting back to the statues, they were in place at the nativity scene when I stopped by with a camera Saturday afternoon. Two look like they're kneeling to the Baby Jesus, the third is bowing slightly.

But Friday they were in front of the altar, by the poinsettias you see in that top photo. Two of them seemed to be crouching behind poinsettia leaves; with the third several paces back, leaning out from behind a plant. It looked like they might be getting ready to yell "surprise!"...

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'And they knelt down and paid him homage.' Sunday Reflections. The Epiphany

Alleluia and Gospel for the Epiphany Alleluia, alleluia! Vidimus stellam eius in Oriente, We have seen his star in the East, et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum. and have come with gifts to adore the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia! Gospel Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV, Catholic Ed., Can.)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly call…

It Started With the Magi

Some folks, like the magi and shepherds, were happy about our Lord's birth. King Herod, not so much. Today's Gospel reading, Matthew 2:1-12, talks about this mixed reaction.

Two millennia later, I'm on the same page as the shepherds and wise men. I think our Lord's birth is cause for rejoicing. (Matthew 2:10Luke 2:20)

"Only the Beginning of a Great Procession" "For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history...."
("Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, Homily of Benedict XVI," (January 6, 2013)) Today is Epiphany Sunday, when the wise men arrive at the nativity scene in our living room, and we remember Matthew's account of the magi. As usual, there's quite a bit going on....

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Images of the Ephiphany

Tradition has it that the wisemen who came to honor the infant Jesus were named Caspar, Balthasar,and Melchior. So we mark everydoorway to the outside with their intials'plus a sign of the cross and year: 20+C+B+M+14

They had studied the Hebrew Scriptures and the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Among these they found the words of Balaam: “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17, ). They were acquainted with the prophecy of Micah:“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2, ; Matthew 2:5, 6).
On the night of Christ’s birth, a mysterious light appeared in the sky which became a luminous star that persisted in the western heavens (see Matthew 2:1, 2). Impressed with its import, they determined to go in search of the Messiah. They knew not where they were to go, but followed as the guiding star led them.

'They saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.' Sunday Reflections, Epiphany

Adoration of the Magi, Murillo, 1655-60 [Web Gallery of Art]
In countries where this is a holyday of obligation, eg, Ireland, the solemnity is celebrated on the traditional date, 6 January. Where it is not a holyday of obligation, eg, the Philippines, it is observed on this Sunday.
The Epiphany has two different Mass formularies, At the Vigil Mass, celebrated on Saturday evening, and At the Mass during the Day. While the prayers and chants are different, the same readings are used at both Masses.
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)                                  
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible) 
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12 (New RevisedStandard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise menfrom the E…