The Epiphany of Our Lord
While at Christmas we extolled the umon of our Lord’s divinity with His humanity, at the Epiphany we honour the mystic union of souls with Christ. “This day a star led the Wise Men to the manger; this day water was turned into wine at the marriage feast; this day Christ chose to be baptised by John in the Jordan for our salvation, alleluia." So we read in to-day’s liturgy which thus connects this feast with that of the Octave Day and of the Second Sunday after the Epiphany.
At St. Peter’s, where are the relics of the Church’s first visible head, the liturgical celebration of the entry of the Gentiles into the Church takes place. “In the adoring Magi,” says St. Leo, “let us acknowledge the first-fruits of our own calling and faith; and let us commemorate with hearts full of joy the foundations of this our blessed hope. For from this moment we have begun to enter our heavenly patrimony.”
Alleluia, alleluia. Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente: et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum. Alleluia.
All shall come from Saba, bringing gold and frankincense, and publishing the praises of the Lord. Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Alleluia, alleluia. We saw his star in the east, and are come, with our offerings, to adore the Lord. Alleluia.
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of King Herod, behold there came wise men from the East, to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And Herod, hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests, and the scribes of the people, he enquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda: for it is written by the Prophet: And thou, Bethlehem, the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod privately calling the Wise Men, learned diligently of them the time of the star, which appeared to them: and sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go, and diligently enquire after the Child: and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore him. Who, having heard the king, went their way. And behold the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, his Mother, (here, all kneel,) and falling down, they adored him. And, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep, that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their own country.
(St Matthew 2:1-12)
The Catholic Encyclopaedia on the Epiphany: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05504c.htm
Dom Gueranger on the Epiphany: http://liturgialatina.org/lityear/christmas/epiphany.htm
Meditation from Bishop Challoner for the Epiphany: http://www.liturgialatina.org/challoner/jan1.htm#6