Epiphany message – 2015


In my first parish that I served as rector for 22 years, Saint Matthew’s, Woodhaven, we were fortunate to have been able to set aside a shrine to Our Lady under the dedication of “Our Lady of the Epiphany.”  A beautifully carved life sized polychromed statue was given as a memorial depicting Our Lady holding her Son, Jesus, in such a way that she was presenting Him to all who came to her in prayer at her shrine.  She held Him out as if she were inviting us to take hold of Him.  As we come to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany on Tuesday, January 6th, we  recall Him who manifests His glory to all made ready to receive Him, to take hold of Him, that we too might shine with the radiance of His glory that in us He may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the end of time.  Mass at Saint James will be sung at 6:30 P M on the feast of the Epiphany.
A rather lovely custom that seems to have been lost in the fog of passing time is that of the blessing of chalk at the Epiphany Mass.  The blessed chalk would then be taken home to mark the lintel above the entrance door: 20+G+M+B+15, a blessing containing the first letters of each of the Magi’s names and the year.  While we no longer receive blessed chalk the following prayer may still be used in seeking God’s blessing upon your home:
O LORD, HOLY FATHER ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, we beseech thee to hear us: and vouchsafe to send thine holy Angel from heaven, to guard, cherish, protect, and visit, and evermore defend all who dwell in this house.  I call upon thy Saints GASPAR, MELCHIOR and BALTHASAR, to protect my family and my home from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door as a reminder to us, and all who enter here, that my house is truly a house of the Lord.  O God, make the doorway of my house the gateway to thine Eternal Kingdom.  All this we ask through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord.  AMEN.
I share the following tradition as well:
Know ye beloved brethren that as by God’s favor we rejoiced in the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so too we announce to you the glad tidings of the Resurrection of Our Savior.  THE SUNDAY OF SEPTUAGESIMA will fall on the first day of February.  ASH WEDNESDAY and the beginning of the most holy Lenten fast on the eighteenth day of February.  On the fifth day of April you shall celebrate with greatest joy the holy PASCH of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  The ASCENSION OF OUR LORD will occur on the fourteenth day of May.  The FEAST OF WHITSUNDAY on the twenty-fourth day of May.  The fourth day of June is the FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI.  The twenty-ninth day of November will usher in the ADVENT of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, to whom be honor and glory eternally.  AMEN.
It was the custom to sing this proclamation at the Sung Mass of the Epiphany advising the congregation of the important days of the year as pertaining to Easter, dating back to a pre-literate time when congregations had to be advised in speech.  It was sung to the tune of the Exsultet.
Christmas Blessings!

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