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Saint Irenaeus on Epiphany

 

 

 

Then again Matthew, when speaking of the angel, says, The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep. Matthew 1:20 Of what Lord he does himself interpret: That it may be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Matthew 2:15 Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us. Matthew 1:23 David likewise speaks of Him who, from the virgin, is Emmanuel: Turn not away the face of Your anointed. The Lord has sworn a truth to David, and will not turn from him. Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your seat. And again: In Judea is God known; His place has been made in peace, and His dwelling in Zion. Therefore there is one and the same God, who was proclaimed by the prophets and announced by the Gospel; and His Son, who was of the fruit of David’s body, that is, of the virgin of [the house of] David, and Emmanuel; whose star also Balaam thus prophesied: There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a leader shall rise in Israel. Numbers 24:17 But Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him; Matthew 2:2 and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human race; gold, because He was a King, of whose kingdom is no end; Luke 1:33 and frankincense, because He was God, who also was made known in Judea, and was declared to those who sought Him not.

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We Three Kings of Orient Are

Something for the Weekend.  We Three Kings of Orient Are.  If ever our nation needed the hope and love brought into the world by Christ, it was in the midst of the Civil War in 1863 when this great hymn first appeared in print.  Written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., a deacon of the Episcopal Church in 1875, this song captures well the longing of all Christians during Advent for Christmas, the commemoration of the birth of the Alpha and the Omega. Continue Reading

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Messianic Prophecies: Numbers 16-19

Something for the weekend.  We Three Kings Of Orient Are.  Continuing on with our Advent look at Messianic prophecies, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here and here we come to Numbers 16-19:

[16] The hearer of the words of God hath said, who knoweth the doctrine of the Highest, and seeth the visions of the Almighty, who falling hath his eyes opened: [17] I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near. A STAR SHALL RISE out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel: and shall strike the chiefs of Moab, and shall waste all the children of Seth. [18] And he shall possess Idumea: the inheritance of Seir shall come to their enemies, but Israel shall do manfully. [19] Out of Jacob shall he come that shall rule, and shall destroy the remains of the city.

Origen, writing in the first half of the third century tied this prophecy of Balaam to the Star of Bethlehem: Continue Reading

Pope Benedict on the Epiphany

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The light that shone in the night at Christmas illuminating the Bethlehem Grotto, where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds remained in silent adoration, shines out today and is manifested to all. The Epiphany is a mystery of light, symbolically suggested by the star that guided the Magi on their journey. The true source of light, however, the “sun that rises from on high” (cf. Lk 1: 78), is Christ.

In the mystery of Christmas, Christ’s light shines on the earth, spreading, as it were, in concentric circles. First of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth:  the Virgin Mary and Joseph are illuminated by the divine presence of the Infant Jesus. The light of the Redeemer is then manifested to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who, informed by an Angel, hasten immediately to the grotto and find there the “sign” that had been foretold to them:  the Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (cf. Lk 2: 12).

The shepherds, together with Mary and Joseph, represent that “remnant of Israel”, the poor, the anawim, to whom the Good News was proclaimed.

Finally, Christ’s brightness shines out, reaching the Magi who are the first-fruits of the pagan peoples.

The palaces of the rulers of Jerusalem, to which, paradoxically, the Magi actually take the news of the Messiah’s birth, are left in the shade. Moreover, this news does not give rise to joy but to fear and hostile reactions. The divine plan was mysterious:  “The light came into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were wicked” (Jn 3: 19). Continue Reading