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Today is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
January 6, 2012

The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles.

Addressing an estimated 7,000 people gathered for his weekly general audience Jan. 4, the pope encouraged Christians to continue living the joy and mystery of Christmas as they prepare for the feast of the Epiphany, as reported by the Catholic News Service:

"Christmas is the feast when God becomes so close to human beings that he shares the same fact of being born to reveal to them their deepest dignity, that of being sons and daughters of God," the pope said. "In that way, the dream of humanity that began in paradise ― we want to be like God ― is realized in an unexpected way: not because of the greatness of man, who cannot make himself God, but through the humility of God, who descends."

Pope Benedict said that if at Christmas Jesus is born and almost "hidden" in human form in the manger of Bethlehem, at Epiphany he is revealed to the Three Kings, and the world.

The pope encouraged Christians to stay with the Christmas spirit, contemplating the fact that God has revealed himself to humanity and radiating "the joy born of knowing how close God is to us."

The celebrations of Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord, he said, are invitations to become more aware of the responsibility each Christian has to bring the light of Christ to the world. The feasts also are an invitation to welcome Christ into one's heart once again and strengthen a commitment to imitating him, so that "his feelings, thoughts and actions are our feelings, thoughts and actions," the pope said.

Below is the first reading of the Epiphany of the Lord, Is 60:1-6, January 8. To see the complete readings for the Epiphany of the Lord, click here. To read about a blessing of the Home and Household on the Epiphany on the Lord, click here. Also, to enjoy a little "We Three Kings: Epiphany Montage " music, click here!

Is 60:1-6
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.












CNS photo, Adam Kozak, Agencja Gazeta via Reuters / Men dressed as the Three Wise Men ride their horses as they take part in the Three Kings Cavalcade in celebration of the Epiphany in Warsaw, Poland, Jan. 6.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic News Service
By Louise Kelly
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Tags: Epiphany, Three Kings, Feast. Pope

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