This week brings less a letter than a photo essay. Pictures or images are suitable this weekend, as we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord – the “showing forth” of the one true God, the Word become flesh, the invisible God become visible, the image of the invisible God.
The Epiphany of our Lord is multifaceted, though most of us think only of the Three Wise Men, the Kings, the Magi from the East, who follow the signs in which they are experts that point the way to the new-born King, and the come to adore and offer gifts. But the other two aspects are just as significant, revealing the Godhead of Jesus to a wider and less specialized audience. The second is Jesus’ miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, demonstrating His command over nature and substance, as well as His concern for people’s joy; and His Baptism, in which the heavens opened, the Spirit descended like a dove, and all present heard the voice of the Father say, behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!
For all of us in the rectory, it has become a favorite tradition to assemble the Parishioner Tree, where we hang the Christmas cards that arrive from throughout the parish. We started because it seemed such a shame merely to look once then put aside these marvelous images of the love that makes up the smallest elements of our Church, the families. Now we all enjoy seeing them for several weeks, including even “distinguished alumni” who still send cards after they have moved on, still nearby or even as far away as North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The threefold Epiphany multiplies to many, many more in the manifestations of God’s presence in the Church.
The tree is right by the counter at the front door, so anyone who comes to request a Mass intention can enjoy it like Michael our UPS guy does. It will stay up for a few more days, so stop by now to check it out for yourself. Let these photos help motivate you. The manifold images reveal the presence of divine love abiding in the flesh and blood of our families united by the Holy Eucharist. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!