January 8, 2012

The first holy day of the new century: the Feast of the Epiphany. Although this
is the year of proclaiming (mostly) the gospel of Mark (Year B of the three-
year liturgical cycle), today's gospel is taken from Matthew (2:1-12) as it is the
only gospel that records this story of the Epiphany.

Let's look at Epiphany through a partial lens—the story of the Magi—since it
is the principal focus of today's gospel. Is this

Gospel meant
idea of giving gifts at Christmas? Is it simply a children's story? Not hardly.
The Magi are Middle Easterners as distinguished from the rest of Jesus' people
in Matthew's gospel (who are referred to as Judeans of some sort). Like the
angels at Christmas, another heavenly connection, a
Jesus. The message that Matthew's gospel seeks to impart is that Jesus has
come for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews... all are invited to salvation
through Christ.

to reaffirm the
star, leads the Magi to

There is a custom (from the Middle Ages) of blessing homes. Chalk was used
to mark the doorways with C+M+B (Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar) as a
reminder that salvation for all people is through Christ. Perhaps your family
would like to designate the door to your home as a "domestic holy door" by
using a piece of chalk to inscribe the following on the frame above your door:  
20  +  C  +  M  +  B  +  12  (the initials of the 3 kings flanked by the numbers
indicating the current year).  Then, say this prayer together:

Almighty Father, incline your ear.
Bless this family as we pray and inscribe the initials of the three kings

above the door of this home.
Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar

followed the star of God's Son,
who became human two thousand and twelve years ago.

May Christ bless this home.

Send us your angels to protect us and your shepherds to guide us.
God, source of all our joy, remain with us throughout this new year.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.    AMEN  +

~ Excerpts of paragraph above taken from Liturgy.com by Elaine Rendler-McQueeney,
from Today's Liturgy 2000