The Feast of the Epiphany—Year B

Reading 1

Is 60:1-6
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.


LK 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the \ law in regard to him, He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. ” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


Gn 15:1-6; 21:1-3
Abraham throughout the centuries has been appropriately referred to as our father in faith. Note that Abrahan was formerly called Abram which is translated as lofty or exalted father. After the promise of God has been fulfilled and Sarah gives birth to Isaac his name is changed to Abraham which means father of the multitude. When the power of God and our response in faith meet, miracles happen. Abraham and Sarah who are childless are now advanced in years, far beyond natural childbearing; yet, through the power of God they bring forth a miraculous birth. Through the offspring of Issac, Abraham becomes the father of the multitude and our father in faith.
Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Psalm 105 is a song celebrating Israel’s history from Abraham to the Exodus. It is a celebration of God’s faithfulness to His Covenant with the people. It is important to note the Jewish notion of God’s remembrance, i.e. we continue to exist because God holds us in his memory. That memory is steadfast and eternal. When God chooses to remember not our sins, our sins cease to exist. From this promise, the promise of His love and mercy, we give thanks to the Lord, praise His name, and proclaim His wonderous deeds. Throughout this psalm gratitude to God in being sung.
Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Chapter 11 of Hebrews is titled Faith of the Ancients. It begins with a definition of faith: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the Word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.” (Heb. 1:1-3) The Greek word for faith is pistis. The etymology of the word supports the definition in Hebrews verse 11:1. Realization and
 vidence are very experiential in nature. We can experience evidential reality in and through the Spiritual realm. Through faith, pistis, the believer can experience and come to know, knosis, in a very real, tangible, and personal way, the invisible world, i.e., invisible reality. It is through that level of faith that the ancients lived and moved. The author of Hebrews speaks of this faith in Abel, in Enoch, in Noah and finally in Abraham. Think of the faith that Abraham must have had to uproot his entire family, and an entire people and begin a blind sojourn. By faith he moved and trusted that God would lead and guide him to a place he knew not. By that same powerful faith, he offered up his only son, Isaac. He had faith in God no matter the cost. through this faith he was able to reason a life beyond death in this world. He had faith that God would provide the Lamb, and God did when He offered His Only Son. This vision of Life beyond the corporeal world in which we live is called faith.
LK 2:22-40
Joseph and Mary are fulfilling the Law prescribed in Leviticus Chapter 12. Note that the law required “a yearling lamb for a holocaust and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.” (Lev. 12:6). Also, note that there is an exception to this rule: “If, However, she (mother) cannot afford a lamb, she may take two turtledoves or two pigeons, the one for the holocaust and the other for the sin offering.” (Lev. 12:8). I would think that Joseph as a successful carpenter and provider could have afforded a lamb of sacrifice. Perhaps Luke is portraying Jesus as the Lamb of God being offered up to the Father.
Certainly, the Spirit of God is making the long-awaited return to the temple. Throughout his Gospel and Acts of the Apostles St. Luke reverberates the idea of people including Jesus Himself, or especially Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, and gifting that same Spirit. Simeon whose name means “God has heard,” is led by the Holy Spirit into the temple. The Holy Spirit is upon him, he came in the Spirit, and the Spirit revealed to him the Savior. In the temple he seems to be giving voice to that same Spirit. It is a universal Spirit and a universal savior. Like the light followed by the Magi, the child is a light to the gentiles, a light for all to see. Luke is proclaiming the gift of salvation of all people. In contrast with the Hebrew notion of
a Savior of Israel from the line of David, Jesus came to save all people. Jesus may be the glory of Israel but, He is the savior of all. The holy prophetess Anna whose name means “grace or favor or gift,” gives thanks to God and speaks of the child to all. Out of gratitude for the gift before her she becomes a witness and an evangelist. The Holy Spirit is evident in her as well.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.
R. (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; He shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute. All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading II

Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6
Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


Mt 2:2
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Mt 2:1-12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.