Saint Theresa Church - Rye Beach, NH

A Catholic Community

Rev. Gary Kosmowski , Pastor

815 Central Road, PO Box 482

Rye Beach, NH 03871

Music Ministry

The Epiphany of the Lord.

 

Epiphany /i-‘pi-fe-nee/ n.: a sudden striking understanding of something; enlightenment; illumination.

 

The revealing light of the iconic Star of Bethlehem, the star that the Magi followed to the Christ child, is a symbol of more than just a guide to a stable hidden among the hills of Judah. It represents the coming of the Light, the Word made flesh, the Love of God come down to earth. His light would illuminate the world for all ages to come. It would lift the darkness, and shine the glory of God on all humanity, destroying sin and death in its brilliance.

Today’s feast day of Epiphany celebrates the revelation of God incarnate, the Lord made manifest in flesh as Jesus Christ. We celebrate the arrival of the Magi at the stable in Bethlehem, but why? The significance of the visit of the Magi to the Christ child is that God was made manifest in Christ, not only to the Hebrew people, but to the Gentiles, as well. Christ came for the redemption of all, not just for the people of Israel.

Of the four canonical gospels, the Gospel of Matthew is the only one that mentions the visit of the Magi to the stable in Bethlehem. As Matthew tells it, after their interview with King Herod, the Magi went and found the newborn King, and paid him homage. After having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by an alternate route. Matthew also recounts the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt after Joseph was told by an angel in his dream, to flee there (Matthew 2:13-15). So enraged was Herod at being duped, that he ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, two years old and under, in an attempt to eliminate the newly born king of the Jews (Matthew 2:16-18). “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15). Can you even imagine the horror of it? The feast of these Holy Innocents is celebrated each year on December 28th.

How blessed we are that the path to Bethlehem, lighted by a star long ago, was trodden for us, making it possible in this age, to celebrate the Epiphany!  How blessed we are that enlightenment, illumination, the Messiah of the ancients, may come to us so easily, if only we long for him!

Our hymnody shines through today’s liturgy with, What Star Is This, PUER NOBIS, at the Entrance; We Three Kings, KINGS OF ORIENT, at the Offertory; and The First Nowell, THE FIRST NOWELL, at Communion. At the 10:00 Mass, the Choir follows that with, Ancient Peoples Searched the Sky, LOVE ON EARTH, arranged by Sally Ann Morris. At the Closing, Songs of Thankfulness and Praise, SALZBURG, ends our liturgy on a decidedly brilliant note.

 

“Chasing starlight still today,

  People dream, explore, and pray.

  God is with us, given birth,

  As starlight leads to Love on earth.” – Adam Tic Love came down from heaven; follow that star!

 

Mary Lou Arcidi – Music Director

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