Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

Solemnity of the Epiphany and the Sundays after Epiphany

The Epiphany Proclamation

On Epiphany there is an ancient custom of announcing the dates of moveable feasts for the coming year. This proclamation has been used in connection with the blessing and distribution of calendars. This Epiphany Proclamation may take place after the reading of the Gospel, or within or after the homily. It may be solemnly sung by the deacon, priest, or lector. (Paulist Ordo)
Nota bene: Insert proper date at each asterisk (*) and month at each double asterisk (**) in the following text.

My brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord Jesus has been made manifest and will continue to be revealed in our midst until he comes again. In the rhythms and alternations of time let us recall and live the mysteries of our salvation. Central to the entire liturgical year is our celebration of the TRIDUUM OF THE LORD, crucified, buried and risen, which culminates on EASTER SUNDAY, the * of * *. Every SUNDAY, when we recall this paschal mystery, holy Church makes present this great event in which Christ has conquered sin and death. From Easter derive all other celebrations: ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of the season of Lent, the * of **; the ASCENSION OF THE LORD, the * of ** ; PENTECOST, the * of **; and the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, the * of **. Likewise, in the feasts of the Holy Mother of God, of the apostles and saints, and in the commemoration of all the faithful departed, the Church, in its pilgrimage here on earth, proclaims the paschal mystery of the Lord. To Christ who is, who was, and who is to come, the Lord of all time and history, be endless praise now and forever!

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Epiphany

2nd Sunday of Epiphany

3rd Sunday of Epiphany

4th Sunday of Epiphany

(Readings for 24th Sun after Pentecost)

5th Sunday of Epiphany

(Readings for 25th Sun after Pentecost)

6th Sunday of Epiphany

(Readings for the 26th Sun after Pentecost)

Epiphany

Epistle: Isaias 60.1-6; Gospel: St. Matthew 2, 1-12
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

MERRY CHRISTMASTIDE. Throughout the ages, Christians have celebrated Christmas as a season, with the twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany as one long Christmas "day." Christmas celebrations with friends and family, decorations, and all of the other means of rejoicing, should continue throughout the season. We can never rejoice in the Lord's birth too much. As Christians, we will very often find ourselves living in contradiction to the styles and preferences of this present age. We should get very much used to the fact that we will face conflict among friends, and even at times within families, as we seek, more generously and more regularly, to live out and celebrate the mysteries of our redemption in Christ Jesus.

"Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." Isaiah the prophet describes the glory of Jesus Christ, which is "the glory of an only Son, coming from the Father, full of grace and truth", our Messiah. The prophet also foretells the reality of those first three wise men, who represent the kings and the peoples of the whole earth, all of whom are called to fully realize their dignity as sons and daughters of God in worship and praise of Him for his glory and goodness. In the Catechism we read:

"The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is 'Christ,' that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the whole life Jesus Christ will make manifest 'how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.' " (Acts 10:38) (CCC 486)

You and I, and all of mankind, must like the shepherds, the magi, St. John and the disciples, come before the Lord in His humble birth at Christmas, and worship Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength. You and I will be seen as acceptable and pleasing to God to the extent that, in Christ, we grow in our praise and worship of Him, generously, with our whole being. How do we praise and worship God? Christ is our model and our means. Christ has set down through example and precept the ways in which we live the Christian life. The ancient "way" of Christian life is repentance and belief in the Gospel, practically and profoundly realized in the sacramental life. Christians, from the first foundation of the Church, have met and known Christ through the words of forgiveness in Confession: "Your sins are forgiven you. Go and sin no more."

And from the beginning, as we do today, Christians have met Christ in the gift of His body and blood in the Eucharist, and have fallen down in worship of Him, our God. "This is my Body...this is my blood." This is the greatest of all the sacraments, the Most Blessed Sacrament. Do we approach Christ at communion with all the reverence, love and worship due to God? Let us be ever more generous in our expressions of reverential worship of the Lord. This is how we prepare for the joy of heaven, where will live as the praise of God's mighty glory forever and ever.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

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2nd Sunday after the Epiphany

Epistle: Romans 12. 6-16; Gospel: John 2, 1-11

Brehren in Christ,
Our Lady has interceded for those who approach her divine Son from the very beginning of his public life and ministry. Mary was invited to a wedding at Cana, and "Jesus also was invited to the marriage with his disciples". Our Lady informs Jesus "they have no more wine" and even though he hesitates, saying "My hour has not yet come" he yet accedes to her wishes. Though wine for the wedding guests is not of importance to his heavenly reign, he yet condescends when his mother brings the request. Our Lady then tells the servants "Do whatever he tells you." We also are invited by our Lady to obedience: "in that all Christian holiness consists: for perfect holiness is obeying Christ in all things". (St. Thomas Aquinas, Comm. on St. John, in loc.). The Lord condescends to her wishes and the needs of the wedding guests and changes water into wine.

In the public life of Jesus Mary appears prominently; at the very beginning when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of the miracles of Jesus the Messiah (cf. John 2: 1-11). In the course of her Son's preaching she received the words whereby, in extolling a kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God (cf. Mk 3:35; Lk 11:27-28) as she was faithfully doing (cf. Lk 2:19; 51). Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully preserved in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood (cf. Jn 19:25), in line with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his passion, with his sacrifice, associating herself in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold thy son' (Jn 19: 26-27)" (Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 58).

"At Cana, Mary appears once more as the Virgin in prayer: when she tactfully told her Son of a temporal need, she also obtained an effect of grace, namely, that Jesus, in working the first of his 'signs', confirmed his disciples' faith in him." (Paul VI, Marialis cultus, 18).

Why are Mary's prayers so effective with God? The prayers of the saints are prayers of servants, whereas Mary's are a Mother's prayer, whence flows their efficacy and their authority; and since Jesus has immense love for his Mother, she cannot pray without being listened to...To understand Mary's great goodness, let us remember what the Gospel says...There was a shortage of wine, which naturally worried the married couple. No one asks the Blessed Virgin to intervene and request her Son to come to the rescue of the couple...; it stirs her to act as intercessor and ask her Son for the miracle, even though no one asks her to...If our Lady acted like this without being asked, what would she not have done if they actually asked her to intervene?" (St. Alphonsus Mary Ligouri, Sunday Sermons, 48).

By God's design Mary is uniquely a Mediatrix for us, our Mother in the order of grace (CCC 967-970) just as she was for the wedding guests at Cana.

"This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to the heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation...Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." (Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 62) (CCC 969)

Let's pray for each other until, again next week, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick
(See also nos. 486, 495, 1335, 1613, and 2618 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) (Publish with permission.) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Epistle: Romans 12. 16-21; Gospel: St. Matthew 8, 1-13

Christ praised most effusively the faith of the centurion, remarking in astonishment: "Of a truth I tell you, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this." In the power of that faith the centurion uttered a prayer of humble abasement and utter confidence in the mercy and divine power of the Lord which has been echoed rightly by millions of souls through the ages as they gaze with fervent adoration upon the Eucharistic Lord in each Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (Jn 6: 53) (CCC 1384)

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." (1 Cor 11: 27-29) Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion. (CCC 1385)

Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur et anima mea" ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.") (Roman Missal, response to the invitation to Communion, Ecce Agnus Dei; cf. Mt 8:8.) And in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But like the good thief I cry, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."(CCC 1386)

To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. (Cf. CIC, can. 919.) Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest. (CCC 1387)

Let us ever approach the Lord with the adoration and humility of the centurion as we meet and receive him in the Eucharist, that we may ever share in the Lord's praise of his ardent faith.
Let's pray for each other until, next week, we again"meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick
(See also nos. 448, 543, 586, 1386, and 2610 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) (Publish with permission.) http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


4th Sunday after the Epiphany

(also 24th Sunday after Pentecost)

Epistle: Romans 13. 8-10; Gospel: St. Matthew 8, 23-27

"Save Lord; we are perishing."

"Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?"

Why does the Lord teach us that faith is the antidote to fear?

There are many passions. The most fundamental passion is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it. (CCC 1765)

God is all goodness; infinite goodness. If our intellect and will are devoted to God's great goodness through the virtue of faith, then we can enjoy confidence in him and in salvation no matter the evils we confront in this world, whether found in nature's powerful forces or in the evil of men.

In the bark of Peter, the Church of Christ, we are afloat on the seas of life. In the security of the virtue of faith and Baptism, by which we are members of the Church, we can weather all storms, no matter their power to inspire fear.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

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5th Sunday after the Epiphany

(also 25th Sunday after Pentecost)

Epistle: Colossians 3. 12-17; Gospel: St. Matthew 13, 24-30

"And the servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.' " (Mt 13, 27-30)

"Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal." (Lumen Gentium 8, art. 3; cf. UR 3; 6; Heb 2:17; 7:26; 2 Cor 5:21) All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners.(Cf. 1 Jn 1:8-10) In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. (Cf. Mt 13:24-30) Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ's salvation but still on the way to holiness:

The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Paul VI, Credo of the People of God, art. 19) (CCC 827)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

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6th Sunday after the Epiphany

(also 26th Sunday after Pentecost)

Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 1. 2-10; St. Matthew 13. 31-35

Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed...The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal..." All this Jesus said to the crowd in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." (Mt 13: 31, 33, 34-35)

Jesus' invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. (Cf. Mk 4:33-34) Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain thekingdom, one must give everything. (Cf. Mt 13:44-45; 22:1-14.) Words re not enough; deeds are required. (Cf. Mt 21:28-32) The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? (Cf. Mt 13:3-9) What use has he made of the talents he has received? (Cf. Mt 25: 14-30) Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple pf Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 13:11) For those who stay "outside," everything remains enigmatic. (Mk 4:11; cf. Mt 13:10-15) (CCC 546)

Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. (Cf. Mt 8:11; 10:5-7; 28:19) To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest. (Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32) (CCC 543)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

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