St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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Jan 4, 2009 Homily - Epiphany

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Below are some notes I took preparing for my homily for the Epiphany. I always do quite a lot of looking into patristic sources and ancient commentaries (especially my favorite in Latin: Cornelius Lapide (17th c.)), as well as the Catechism, and of course the whole of the Bible. I hope you find these helpful.
--- Fr. Poggemeyer

Scriptures:

Psalm 72:7-11 7 In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! 8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!

Numbers 24:15-17 15 And he took up his discourse, and said, "The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, 16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes uncovered: 17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth.

Micah 5:2 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Haggai 2:6-9 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the LORD of hosts. 9 The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the LORD of hosts.'"

Fathers and Saints of the Church:

St. John Chrysostom: "Let us imitate the Magi. Thou seest him not now in the crib, but on the altar; not a woman holding him, but the priest present, and the Holy Ghost poured out abundantly upon the sacrifice."

St. Fulgentius: Quis est iste Rex Judaeorum? pauper et dives, humilis et sublimis, qui portatur ut parvulus, adoratur ut Deus; parvulus in praesepio, immensus in caelo, vilis in pannis, pretiosus in stellis. Who is this king of the Jews? Poor and rich, humble and sublime, who is carried as an infant, adored as God; an infant in the manger, infinite/boundless in heaven, vile wrapped in bands of cloth, his preciousness revealed by stars.

Some fathers make a comparison between the flame of light from a meteor which was the star and the column of fire and cloud which guided the Hebrews in the desert to the promised land... so the pillar of fire in the desert becomes a type of the star over Bethlehem

St. Bernard: Aspice stellam, invoca Mariam. Gaze upon the star, call upon/invoke Mary.

S. Augustine: Quid mirum, si nascente pietate turbatur impietas? Is it so surprising that when goodness is born, that which is impious gets purturbed?

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 528 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.212 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.213 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.214 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").

212 Mt 2:1; cf. LH, Epiphany, Evening Prayer II, Antiphon at the Canticle of Mary.
213 Cf Mt 2:2; Num 24:17-19; Rev 22:16.
214 Cf Jn 4 22; Mt 2:4-6.
215 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 3 in epiphania Domini 1-3, 5: PL 54, 242; LH, Epiphany, OR; Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 26, Prayer after the third reading.
Last Updated on Sunday, 16 August 2009 23:01  

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