Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
First, both Fr. Zabinski and I wish to thank all those who expressed your Christmas greetings to us through cards, food and gifts! We feel very blessed! We pray that you and all of your loved ones have a blessed 2017!
This weekend please find at our parishes and take home with you blessed chalk and a prayer sheet for the traditional Epiphany home blessing. Chalk for your use will be available after each Holy Mass.
This weekend we honor and celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. Historically, this Solemnity was included in the Church calendar to commemorate several significant manifestations of the Divinity of our Lord: His birth, the adoration of the Magi, His Baptism in the Jordan, and the wedding feast at Cana. In more recent times, the Epiphany has focused on the figures of the Three Kings or Wise Men we know as Melchior, Balthazar, and Caspar. It has been taken from the writings of St. John Chrysostom (birth circa: 344 – death: 407) that the Wise Men were baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle in Persia. Their graves were found by St. Helena in the fourth century and their remains were transferred to the Cathedral in Constantinople. Some centuries later their remains were taken to the Dominican church in Milan, Italy. Then, in the twelfth century, their remains were taken to the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany by the emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Their remains can be be venerated in the Cologne Cathedral to this day.
I have had the blessing of visiting the tombs of the three Wise Men in the Cologne Cathedral. It is certainly a holy and historic shrine. One of the symbolic meanings of the Wise Men is to show us that Christ came into the world for all people. Each of the three Wise Men are traditionally depicted in a particular way to signify all peoples: Melchior, an old white man with a long white beard, bearing the gift of gold for Christ’s royalty; Caspar, young and of darker hue, carrying incense for Christ’s divinity; and Balthazar, a black man, offering myrrh for Christ’s suffering and death. (some information taken from www.ewtn.com)
Here is what our Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about the event of the Epiphany:
“The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that "the full number of the nations" now takes its "place in the family of the patriarchs", and acquires Israelitica dignitas215 (is made "worthy of the heritage of Israel").” (CCC 528)
Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and the Three Kings, Melchior, Balthazar and Caspar, may God bless you, your families and our parishes!
In Christ through Mary,