Showing posts from December, 2011

The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 6 January 2012

The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ - 6 January 2011 Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 St. Matthew 2:1-12                                                                                     Background: The Epiphany Regretfully, we often associate the Epiphany only with the visit of the Magi, or easily associate Christmas Day with the West and Epiphany with the East.   In the ancient Church, the Epiphany was a feast that celebrated the manifestation (Epiphany) of Jesus to the world (which celebrated both the birth and baptism of Jesus).   When the Christmas festival became normative in the mid fourth century, Epiphany began to move toward a festival that focused its celebration of the baptism of Jesus.   With the great Schism in 1054, the development of the festivals commemorating the birth of Christ, go in separate directions.   What evolved in the West were the “Twelve Days of Christmas” beginning on the 25 th of December and concluding on the Epiphan

The Holy Name of Jesus - 1 January 2012

The Holy Name of Jesus - 1 January 2011 Numbers 6:22-27 Psalm 8 Philippians 2:5-11 St. Luke 2:15-21                                                                                     Background: Name The power of a name was a concept that was common in the ancient near east.   Ceremonies, commands, and spells were often done “in the name of” a god or goddess.   Early Judaism was not unaware of this, and often the name of God was appended to a person’s name to indicate their allegiance or reliance on the divinity.   Thus we have Israel (the el calling to mind “El”, one of the names for God) and the name itself meaning “struggled with God” (see Genesis 32).     Since names had such power, the Hebrew Scriptures demand that the name of God (YHWH, among others), should not be pronounced.   Thus when the name YHWH is encountered in the scriptures the reader substituted the title Adonai (Lord).   Names could be written on an unfired pot of clay along with a curse, fired, and t