2003-01-05 Mention of “Epiphany” often does not go beyond an explanation of the word...
January 5, 2003
Mention of “Epiphany” often does not go beyond an explanation of the word which means “manifestation” or “showing.” Greek words do sound exotic if one does not know Greek, but I expect “manifestation” sounds just as fascinating to any Greek who does not know English. We have received a very grand gift of Greek sanctuary lamps, to match the new ones at the Mary and Joseph shrines. These will ornament the sanctuary and burn on high feasts in the presence of our Lord who comes among us in the Eucharist. For while the major epiphanies of our Lord are his appearance to the Magi and his Baptism in the Jordan (“This is my beloved Son”) along with his first miracle at Cana and the Transfiguration depicted over our altar, he is immediately present in the gathered church at Eucharist. There is an Epiphany each time the priest says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”
Epiphany is a reminder of a Christian’s duty to those of the Household of the Faith in places foreign to us. A recent commitment we have made as a parish to help the suffering Catholics in China, through modest offerings of mission Masses, is a small token of this. Concern for the Holy Land and the political situation in the Middle East is part of our regular prayer. Our Associate Pastor, Father Koshy George Chirayath, who has been helping us and also the oriental rite Indian community which meets regularly in New Rochelle, will be returning to India next week and will take with him our thanks for his presence among us, increasing our ties with the growing Church in that part of the world. The responsibilities of priests in the archdiocese, particularly this year with more than twenty parishes about to be assigned new pastors, mean that we will not have a replacement. Father Patrick Ettampola, whose is also engaged in graduate studies at Hunter College will be my only full-time help. Of course we are always grateful for our dutiful priests in residence and visiting priests. This new situation will require re-examination of our daily liturgical schedule, all with the intention of manifesting the presence of our Lord as widely as possible in our neighborhood and city. In all these challenges, the parish can join in singing a sixth century Epiphany antiphon from the Roman Breviary:
“This day the Church is joined unto the heavenly Bridegroom, since Christ hath washed away her sins in the Jordan; the wise men hasten with gifts to the marriage supper of the King; and they that sit at meat together make merry with water turned into wine. Alleluia.”
Fr. George W. Rutler