Celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
"The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power."
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany.
"The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power." With these words, the Church proclaims that today's feast brings to a perfect fulfillment all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season.
Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. Christian tradition has ever seen in the Magi the first fruits of the Gentiles; they lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth, and thus the Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation.
May the splendor of your majesty, O Lord, we pray, shed its light upon our hearts, that we may pass through the shadows of this world and reach the brightness of our eternal home.
The Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts
The proclamation of the date of Easter and the other moveable feasts on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of Sundays that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday, and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter.
Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year.
Know, dear brothers and sisters,
that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God's mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Savior.
On the second day of March will fall Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.
On the seventeenth day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the twenty-sixth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.]
On the fifth day of June, the feast of Pentecost.
On the nineteenth day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On the twenty-seventh day of November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever.