January 3, 2021

Download the Bulletin as a PDF

Solemnity of the Epiphany

There is no feast for the Flight into Egypt. Had we celebrated last Sunday the Feast of the Holy Family then we would have heard that passage from the Gospel of Matthew which describes their narrow escape from Herod: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23. Below is the text. The intermediate verses recount the Massacre of the Holy Innocents, which the Church celebrates a week earlier on December 28. Just as puzzling, in the Extraordinary Form, the Gospel account of the Flight into Egypt is read on the Vigil of Epiphany. Anyway, here is Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23:

13 Now when [the Wise Men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archela′us reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

The last verse of the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Epiphany (Matthew 12,1-12) says: “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”

Do you notice that the Wise Men and the Holy Family needed to be warned separately? Why is that? I want to know if the Wise Men shared with Joseph the warnings they received in their dreams. Did the visitors try to warn St. Joseph but unsuccessfully? Did they not speak of it for fear of spies? Had they already parted company by the time they received their warnings? God knows. It is said that after their return home, the Wise Men were baptized by St. Thomas and became great saints.

It would seem that each household needed its own blessing... as do ours. Be sure to take home your blessed chalk and place the Epiphany Blessing over your door.

Merry Christmas!
Fr. Christopher J. Pollard