The Solemnity of the Epiphany. (b)
The Season of Christmas.
Sunday 7th January: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. (B)
Today we remember how the wise men came to adore the newly born child in the manger.
Isaiah, in the first reading, calls on the people to rejoice, for their light has come. Even people from other nations will come to pay homage.
St. Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, reminds us that salvation is made available to Jews and Gentile alike.
In the Gospel, we have St. Matthew’s account of the events we celebrate today.
Monday 8th 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 last Sunday’s feast of the Epiphany by continuing to focus on Jesus making himself known to all peoples. Today we hear God’s words over the waters of the Jordan: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.’ 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. It is fitting us to reflect on our own Baptism – the beginning of our Christian journey.
Beginning of the Ordinary Season of the Year (2)
Tuesday 9th January: 1st week of the year.
In the ordinary cycle last year, we learned of the history of the people of Israel until shortly after they arrived in the Promised Land.
The first Book of Samuel tells the history of the setting up of a monarchy in Israel. It tells us more about God’s dealings with the Chosen People and highlights the message to them that, if they are faithful to the laws given to Moses, faithful to the Covenant they would experience peace and prosperity. On the other hand if they disobey they can expect punishment.
Today’s reading takes us to the background of the birth of Samuel, the first of the three main characters, the others being Saul and David.
Hannah is blessed and makes a vow that if she has a son he will be dedicated to God. Hannah goes home happy and eventually gives birth to Samuel.
Mark shows the power of God at work in Jesus, the Messiah. It is a power that is contested by the powers of evil. Such also is the power of God today in the world.
Wednesday 10th January: 1st week of the year
We read the account of Samuel’s call to become the Lord’s prophet and take over from his master, the priest, Eli. Samuel was open to the promptings of the Lord and responds with an open and willing heart.
Jesus heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and then goes on to cure many others. Afterwards, as he often did before a major moment in his life, he goes off to a quiet place to pray.
Thursday 11th January: 1st week of the year
The Ark of the Covenant looms large in this reading. It accompanied the Israelites throughout their journeys. It is lost in a battle against the Philistines, and as a result, there is a loss of morale.
In the Gospel, Jesus heals the leper, an event which unheard of at that time. His watchers would not keep things quiet as Jesus wished.
Friday 12th January: 1st week of the year
In the first reading today, we hear how the Philistines send the Ark of the Covenant back to the people of Israel. Under Samuel’s leadership, the people repent of their former ways and commit themselves to the God of Israel.
Jesus wasn’t only interested in healing the physical needs of the people. There was a spiritual message to be learned. We hear of the value of faith and Jesus’ power to forgive sin. No ordinary person could have that power.
Saturday 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.