4 Jan 2012

January 6th - Feast of the Epiphany (Nollaig na mBan)



Arise, shine out, Jerusalem; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.
Isaiah 60:1-6

Unlike in USA and UK, Ireland still marks the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th. For many people it marks the end of the Christmas holidays, schools return and the Christmas decorations are taken down and the Christmas tress is put away.
The Feast of the Epiphany is the feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Originally this feast celebrated on the 6th of January, contained four great manifestations of Jesus, namely, the Nativity of our Lord, the coming of the Magi or the three kings, the Baptism of our Lord and the wedding at Cana. Eastern Christians still commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians and is the main Christmas celebration for the Orthodox community and not December 25th.



St Matthew tells us (2:1-12) that Wise Men came from out of the east seeking the new born child as the Messiah of the whole world not just for the people of Israel. Their homage to him upon locating him in Bethleham is representative of the whole world who adore the Holy Child and recognise his Divine Kingship, he who is the Light of the World.




"The light that shone in the night at Christmas illuminating the Bethlehem Grotto, where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds remained in silent adoration, shines out today and is manifested to all. The Epiphany is a mystery of light, symbolically suggested by the star that guided the Magi on their journey. The true source of light, however, the “sun that rises from on high” (cf. Lk 1: 78), is Christ.

In the mystery of Christmas, Christ’s light shines on the earth, spreading, as it were, in concentric circles. First of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth: the Virgin Mary and Joseph are illuminated by the divine presence of the Infant Jesus. The light of the Redeemer is then manifested to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who, informed by an Angel, hasten immediately to the grotto and find there the “sign” that had been foretold to them: the Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (cf. Lk 2: 12).


The shepherds, together with Mary and Joseph, represent that “remnant of Israel”, the poor to whom the Good News was proclaimed. Finally, Christ’s brightness shines out, reaching the Magi who are the first-fruits of the pagan peoples."

Pope Benedict XVI, Epiphany 2008, continue reading here
Other reflections on today's gospel:
  • Word on Fire - Herod sees all from the confines of his ego, trying to make the world conform to his plans. The Magi look outside of themselves, looking for an order that they will conform to. By focusing their attention away from themselves, they are spiritually liberated to follow the star of Bethlehem. This is the liberation that Christ grants us. He allows us to escape the jail cell of our egos to join the liberating current of his love, leading us closer to eternal life.
  • English Dominicans - One of the good things about travelling is that it both dislocates and disconcerts us. The unique combination of stress, boredom and expectation can reduce us to nervous wrecks but also open us to experiencing the world afresh. Not only do we travel to see 'new things', but by travelling we sometimes end up seeing things anew. Even things that we thought were familiar, we can see them as if for the first time when we return home, or when we think about them from far away
We join with the psalmist (Psalm 44) and the Magi and all the Heavenly Court in praising the Prince of Peace:

My heart overflows with noble words.
To the king I must speak the song I have made,
my tongue as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
You are the fairest of the people on earth
and graciousness is poured upon your lips,
because God has blest you for evermore.
Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever.
A scepter of justice is the scepter of your kingdom,
Your love is for justice, your hatred for evil.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above other kings;
your robes are fragrant with aloes and myrrh.
From the ivory palace you are greeted with music.
The daughters of kings are among your loved ones.
On your right stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Of course in Ireland, to all the ladies out there, every blessing and enjoyment for Nollaig na mBan!











2 comments:

  1. C'est très très beau et je pense qu'il faut du temps pour arriver à ce chef d'oeuvre !!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. trop beau !!!!

    ReplyDelete