Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Monday, January 6, 2014

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
Today, January 6, is the Feast of the Epiphany (celebrated at Mass yesterday), the Twelfth Day of Christmas.  In the nearly two weeks since Christmas Day, the Church has taken us on quite a journey, allowing us to meditate on many of the events surrounding the Nativity of Our Lord.

On Christmas and Christmas Eve, of course, our worship included prophecies from Isaiah about the Messiah, the beginning of St. John’s Gospel (“In the beginning was the Word…”), the familiar stories of the trip to Bethlehem, the shepherds, and Joseph’s obedience to God’s plan, which was so unexpected to him.

Then, December 26, while everyone is still feeling the bliss of their Christmas celebrations, we had the feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  This feast is a reminder that by accepting the newborn king as our King, we will be called to pay a price.  On December 28, we are confronted with the Holy Innocents, those children who lost their lives because of Herod’s blood-lust for power.  This feast also challenges us to consider the millions of innocents in our own time who have been sacrificed on the altar of abortion, as well as those countless men and women who regret losing their children to abortion and are in need of help and healing.

On January 1, we ring in the new year with the feast of Mary, the Mother of God.  This can serve to remind us that we are part of a family, and that God has provided for us a mother, His own mother.

And now we celebrate the Epiphany, and the Magi coming to adore the Baby Jesus.  These pagans, Gentiles, led to Jesus, give witness to the words Simeon would speak at His Presentation, that He would be a light for all nations.

It may not seem so profound to us now, but to understand that the Messiah, the King of the Jews, is really the King of the Universe and the salvation of all men, is the greatest epiphany of all time.  It should lead us to immense gratitude and also remind us that we are a missionary Church, and our call is still that of the Apostles, to bring Jesus to all people.

May we be blessed this Epiphany with the grace in this new year to bring at least one soul to Christ.


Note:  One of the beautiful traditions on the Epiphany is the blessing of one’s home.  Find a traditional Epiphany home blessing at the link below.