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
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:
 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:  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.  And he shall possess Idumea: the inheritance of Seir shall come to their enemies, but Israel shall do manfully.  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
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