Sunday, January 08, 2017

And One King Held the Hope of The World

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. Isaiah 60:1-3

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. Ephesians 3:2-3

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. Matthew 2:9B-11B

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.  (James Joyce, “The Dead” in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).

How many kings were present on the Epiphany? (Do not count Good King Wenceslaus. He was looking out on the Feast of Stephen.)

On Christmas morning, I had an “epiphany.”  We sat in the pews at the Church of the Nativity celebrating the Nativity.  During communion, we heard an amazing song that captured the spirit of this season from Advent through Epiphany – “One King” originally recorded in 1999 by Point of Grace. It also has the answer to that question.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Kings of earth on a course unknown
Bearing gifts from afar
Hoping, praying
Following yonder star

Silhouette of a caravan
Painted against the sky
Wise men searching
For the Holy Child

One king held the frankincense
One king held the myrrh
One king held the purest gold
And one king held the hope of the world 

Where will you find the newborn king of the Jews? In the cold, dark winter, look out your window for a hint of the star. Look east like the Magi.

Is Epiphany the perfect Cursillo feast day to celebrate?

In the manger scene where all this takes place, we have the retreat house: Missionhurst was my Bethlehem.  Others made their Cursillo Epiphany at San Damiano.  The weekends for the seriously ill were at the old Dominican Retreat House. Think back.  Where was your weekend experience?

We have group reunion:  the three magi. There were three with gifts but there may have been more in the traveling party.  Plus, there also had to be women present – a nurse-midwife at least.  Plus, Joseph had all those relatives who would want to see their new nephew or cousin as the family tree of Jesse sprouted another branch.

We have the Palanca sacrifice of the journey, the gifts, and the homage.  We have the hospitality of the Saturday night celebration and the Sunday “closura” when the candidates are reunited with the community.  Getting the gifts from the magi must have surprised Mary as much as “maƱanita” greets the candidates.  How beautiful is the morning! 

The Wise priests, prophets, and kings still seek close moments with the Holy Child on Cursillo weekends and on their caravan of their Fourth Day Journey following yonder star. With all those parallels, it is the PERFECT day to recommit yourself to supporting your community. The next Cursillo Epiphany will start on March 23 at Missionhurst.   Therefore, it also is the perfect day to offer Palanca for the Women’s 149th Cursillo team that begins formation TODAY on the Feast of the Cursillo…I mean Feast of the Epiphany. Click here to see where to send it by electrons or snail mail to support Team Epiphany and Rectora Annie Sweeney.

Today is also the day our Eastern Rite friends celebrate Christmas.  Wish a Merry Christmas to your friends at St. Mark’s Coptic Church on Braddock Road and every other eastern orthodox congregation.

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