Saturday, January 12, 2008

The end of the season

Say your final "Merry Christmas" for the year: the season is now ending.
For years I have been intrigued by the way the Liturgy treats Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord as one mega-feast, in which the story of Cana has a special place. It's not so obvious where Epiphany is celebrated on a Sunday, but where it is not, the second Sunday of Christmas features the Gospel of the wedding at Cana. So we have four mysteries combined in one season. (It is best seen in an antiphon from the Liturgy of the Hours for Epiphany, which presents the Magi "hastening with gifts to the royal wedding, for Christ has changed water into wine.") These are really ancient, ancient connections that are still present today, even if a bit more mystifying for us, perhaps.
I was reflecting on what holds these four feasts together, and noticed that Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are all "manifestations" in which Jesus is pointed out from above. In all three, you can imagine the voice of God booming from heaven (as it did at the Baptism): "This is my beloved Son!" In other words, these three events are contiguous with the earlier history of revelation, and Jesus is rather passively "being" manifested by God, who is the active one. It is a transition, though, and that transition is finalized at Cana. Up to the middle of the feast, Jesus tells his mother, "My hour has not yet come." It was still the Father's hour, in a way. But in a mysterious way, Mary's not-entirely-subtle suggestion brought about a new hour, and Jesus "revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him."
Something new had opened. (We call it the "new" testament.)


Anonymous said...

A final Merry Christmas, spqr

psychic said...
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