Friday, January 06, 2017 Epiphany of Our Lord Introduction
Epiphany means “manifestation.” On this day we celebrate the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles—that is, to all nations. Some Christian traditions celebrate three great epiphanies on this day: the magi’s adoration of the Christ child, Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle, in which he changes water into wine. The word and sacraments are for us the great epiphany of God’s grace and mercy. We go forth to witness to the light that shines brightly in our midst.
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Jerusalem is assured that nations will make a pilgrimage to her, because the light of God’s presence is in her midst. The bountiful food of the sea and the profits of international trade will come streaming to Jerusalem and thereby declare God’s praise.
Psalm: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
All kings shall bow down before him. (Ps. 72:11)
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:1-12
What had been hidden from previous generations is now made known through the gospel ministry of Paul and others. In Christ both Jews and Gentiles participate in the richness of God’s promised salvation.
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
God’s promise shines bright in the night as magi follow a star to honor a new king. Strangers from a faraway land, they welcome the long-awaited messiah of Israel.
Sunday, January 08, 2017 Baptism of Our Lord / Lectionary 1 Introduction
In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as the beloved Son of God. Through this great epiphany, Jesus fulfills all righteousness and becomes the servant of God who will bring forth justice and be a light to the nations. In the waters of baptism we too are washed by the Word, anointed by the Spirit, and named God’s beloved children. Our baptismal mission is to proclaim good news to all who are oppressed or in need of God’s healing.
First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9
God’s servant Israel is endowed with the Spirit in order to bring justice to the nations. The servant will not exercise authority boisterously or with violence, nor will weariness ever keep it from fulfilling its task. God’s old promises have been fulfilled; the new assignment of the servant is to bring light to the nations.
Psalm: Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Peter crosses the sharp religious boundary separating Jews from Gentiles and proclaims the good news of God’s inclusive forgiveness in Jesus’ name to Cornelius, a Roman centurion. As a result of Peter’s preaching, Cornelius and his family become the first Gentiles to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
Before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptized by John, touched by the Spirit, and identified publicly as God’s child.