Epiphany of the Lord
In our monastery the three kings and a trusty camel have gradually made their way, day by day, through the public space outside our chapel. This morning we found them integrated into the manger scene so lovingly and artistically created by our Sr. Moira Quinn. She incorporated a back drop originally painted for an outdoor Bethlehem in our garden. Redemptorist seminarians offered that generous work over thirty years ago.
|The Three Kings at the Creche|
Redemptoristine Monastery, Esopus, New York 2011
While we most commonly associateEpiphany with the arrival of the magi at the stable in Bethlehem, the Church presents this feast as a celebration of multiple 'manifestations' of the Kingship of Christ. The word 'epiphany' is ordinarily defined as a sudden realization or a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence. It is also defined as an appearance of God or a manifestation of a divine being.
Not one but three manifestations of Jesus the Lord are referenced in the liturgies of the Church today. The first is the revelation of the divine indentity of Jesus to the shepherds by a host of angels. The second is the revelation to the three kings who steadfastly followed the star to Bethlehem. The third requires a counter intuitive leap because our minds are focused on a little babe. It is the manifestation of the divinity of Jesus which took place at the wedding feast of Cana. Following our Mass today, we gathered around the refectory table, complete with its centerpiece depicting the the magi in adoration before the child Jesus. But at that moment we re-enacted the Cana story in parts complete with waiters pouring wine into our glasses. There was prayer and then a toast too.