Solemnity of the Epiphany & Week 1 of the Year
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Christmas.
Sunday 8th January: The Solemnity of the Epiphany (a)
The celebration of the Epiphany, meaning ‘manifestation’, is like a second Christmas. It is, in fact, the Christmas of the Eastern Churches. It proclaims that the child Jesus belongs to and is given to the whole world as its Saviour. This is the reality the liturgy stresses today – Jesus came to save and bring life to all. No one is excluded; no one is a stranger to him.
Monday 9th January: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Today, the Christmas season ends as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. In a way, we continue the theme of yesterday’s feast by continuing to focus on Jesus making himself known to all peoples. Today we hear God’s words over the waters of the Jordan: ‘This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’ As Christians, we believe that God’s words are meant for all who have been baptized. We are God’s children, children in whom he should be well pleased.
THE END OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.
THE ORDINARY SEASON OF THE YEAR (1) BEGINS.
Tuesday 10th January: Tuesday in the 1st week of the year.
The Letter to the Hebrews provides our first reading on ordinary days for the first four weeks of this season in the Church’s liturgical cycle. It is suggested that it was written around the year 80 a.d. It is a complex theological work whose central theme is the priesthood of Christ. The unknown author uses Jewish categories that would still have been understood by the first century converts.
The author reminds us that, because of sin, we do not realise our full potential. We are subject to the world in many ways. Christ comes into this situation so that by his life death and resurrection he might make us what we were meant to be.
For the first nine weeks of the Ordinary Season, the Gospel reading comes from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus and his preaching have started to make an impression. This is because he teaches with authority, an authority that can overcome Satan.
Wednesday 11th January: Wednesday in the 1st week of the year. Today’s reading introduces the central theme of the Letter to the Hebrews – the priesthood of Christ. He is the perfect mediator because he is true God and true man.
Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and then goes on to cure others who are ill. Afterwards, he goes off to a quiet place to pray, refusing to allow the adulation of the crowds to dominate.
Thursday 12th January: Thursday in the 1st week of the year.
The author has been trying to prove the unique supremacy of Christ. He breaks into this to encourage his readers not to harden their hearts as the Jews did in the desert. They must not refuse to give Jesus their obedient trust.
In the Gospel passage we have an account of Jesus healing the leper in face of the incredulity of the people that such a thing could be done. He still tries to keep a low profile despite what he has done.
Friday 13th January: Feast of St. Kentigern.
St. Kentigern (or Mungo) was a missionary in Strathclyde and eventually became their Bishop. He had to leave due to persecution and then preached in north-west England and Wales before returning to Scotland where he died in 603. He is the Patron Saint of Glasgow and is buried there.
Saturday 14th January: Saturday in the 1st week of the year.
The Word of God is alive and active, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us. It is effective and penetrates into our hearts, into the very fibre of our being. This is our faith, a faith through which Jesus is with us, feeling our weaknesses with us.
The passage from the Gospel today is a comforting and consoling one. Jesus did not come to help those who believe that they are spiritually healthy. He came to help those struggling and genuinely trying to overcome sin in their lives.
O Star of Wonder,
Star of Night,
Star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to the heavenly light.