Showing posts from December, 2019

The Epiphany of Our Lord (transferred), 5 January 2020

The Epiphany of Our Lord, 5 January 2020 (transferred)
Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 St. Matthew 2:1-12

Background: Zoroaster and ChristmasIn the Gospel for today, we meet the Magi, Zoroastrian priests. The connection between Zoroaster and the Christian Infancy Narrative is not only found in Matthew, but also in the Syriac Infancy Gospel. In the course of relating the visit of these Zoroastrians to the infant Jesus, it is related that the prophecy about Jesus came from the prophet Zoradascht (Zoroaster). The word magos appears not only in the new Testament (Matthew and Acts) but also in the Hebrew Scriptures as well, where it is indicative of a magician or sorcerer. The term was found widely in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, and from it we have our modern English words “magic” and “magician.” Why the link to Zoroastrianism? The chief influence that we see is the notion of universalism, that expanded the notion of YHWH as not only the God of Israel, but als…

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, 22 December 2019

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, 22 December 2019
Isaiah 7:10-16 Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18 Romans 1:1-7 St. Matthew 1:18-25

Background: Joseph
The Annunciation to Joseph which is today’s Gospel prompts me to give some background to Joseph the husband of Mary. He is honored in the calendars of the Orthodox Churches, the Roman Church, Anglicans, and Lutherans. He is the patron saint of workers. He appears in all of the synoptic Gospels excepting Mark, and in John as well. The genealogy of Matthew traces a royal lineage from Solomon. He is present at the nativity, with a final appearance in the Temple during the Passover pilgrimage made by the Holy Family. The annunciation text places Joseph in the tradition of his forebearer, Joseph the dreamer, in Genesis. 
First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-16
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the