Homily – Epiphany

The celebration of the Epiphany is really all about traditions. We have different traditions that we celebrate today. So in many cultures, today would be Three Kings Day, really the day of gift giving. But on this day, the church also announces for us the feasts that are approaching. And so listen attentively. Know my dearest brothers and sisters by the gift of God’s mercy, as we have rejoiced at the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So also we announce to you this day the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. On the 14th day of February, the day of Ash Wednesday will be the beginning of Lent. On the 31st of March, we will celebrate with great joy, our holy Easter, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. On the ninth day of May will be the ascension of our Lord.

On the 19th of May, the feast of Pentecost. On the 30th of the month of May, we will celebrate the solemnity of the most holy body and blood of Christ. And on the 1st of December, the Church will gather for the first Sunday of the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we learn, honor and glory forever and ever.

On this day of the year epiphany, we announce the coming joys of the next few months because it reminds us that during Advent and Lent, we really celebrate gateways gateways to our Lord Jesus Christ. A gateway, a door is something that we go through. It begins or ends a journey. Both Advent and Lent begin our journey to the Lord Jesus every year.

Advent our journey to the birth of our great hope, and in Lent, the gateway to the fulfillment of our great hope salvation in Christ. So it is only fitting today when we think of the end of the Christmas season and what’s yet to come that I ask a very unusual question What do Christmas epiphany and front doors all have to do with each other?

Christmas epiphany, front doors. Now there is another tradition that we celebrate on the Feast of Epiphany, and I tried it here at Saint Charles. Let me just say that brown enamel paint over the doorways, trust me, it’s really tough. There is no one who is going to do anything to that brown normal pat paint, because I tried to fulfill this tradition this morning, and that is to put the first two numbers of the millennium.

So what are the two numbers of our millennium? Two zero plus C plus M plus B plus the two numerals of our year. What are the two numerals of our year 24? So if you look carefully, you can barely see 20 plus C plus M plus B plus 24. Why? Because it is an old custom to on the doorways of our hearts, our homes, our church, to remind ourselves that this whole year, through the gifts of Caspar Melchior and Balfour as czar, will be blessed.

So really, what Christmas epiphany and front doors all have in common gift giving. So an epiphany. What is the right number of gifts to give? Three Very good, because the wise guys, also known as the Magi, brought gold frankincense and myrrh. Three gifts Now at Christmas. What is the right number of gifts to give? Well, depending on how greedy you are, I asked this question at one of our academies this week, and one young child yelled out, A billion seems a little excessive, but I’m going to suggest that also what Christmas epiphany and doorways have in common is the number of gifts we should give.

So this Christmas, how many people got more than three gifts? You have very generous parents and friends. How many got more than five gifts. Wow. I’m going to suggest that the perfect number of gifts is five. Now, why is five the perfect number? Because on the day we were baptized, on the day that our names were written on the doorway to heaven, we were given five gifts by the church.

Where does every baptism begin? At the doors of the church. Why? Because we are welcoming in the newest member of our community. And that welcome should be done at that door that begins this journey of faith so that on the day we are baptized, we are given the first gift, the gift of welcome, where at the door of the church, because it begins the journey of faith.

And all our hearts on that day is imprinted in Christ, Jesus, the Lord. We are given an indelible mark. I tried to write a mark on the front door of the church. It didn’t work. Between the rain and the paint, I was getting nowhere. But on the day we were baptized, Christ Jesus wrote his name on our hearts.

And there it is. He welcomed us and then the second gift was given to us, the gift of the Word of God Scripture. And so this morning we heard the words that remind us that those who are truly wise follow Christ, follow Christ in faith, follow Christ on a journey wherever the journey takes us. Welcome, journey, Scripture all lead us to the third gift that we are given on the day of baptism.

Our community of faith speaks for us, and that community pronounces baptism more vows and says I do to the faith that faith that is a gift from God that began a Christmas at his nativity and is fulfilled for us at the resurrection, the beginning and the end. Faith given to us at baptism. And it reminds us that our Christmas season really does end with the solemnity of the baptism of the Lord, which is usually the Sunday after Epiphany.

But this year we celebrate the baptism of the Lord. Tomorrow it brings everything together for us in baptism, because it reminds us that the fifth gift excuse me, the fourth gift, the actual gift of water, new life and grace comes to us in the sacrament that we are given. Welcome, scripture, faith and sacrament. Bring us together at the altar of the Lord for the Eucharist.

A great gift. And it reminds us of the fifth gift that we are given on the day we are baptized. The perfect gift, the gift of the Lord’s Prayer that we will shortly say right before we go to the Eucharist, what do Christmas, epiphany and doors all have in common? Christ, Jesus, the Lord, our baptism, the gifts that we are given every day of our lives through the Church, through Christ, Jesus, the Lord.

And so on a day like Epiphany, when we celebrate the tradition of those who are wise, who follow Jesus, who look to a star, the light to guide them on the journey of life, we also remember and celebrate the beginning of our journey of faith following that light of Christ Jesus from baptism to resurrection, from water to bread and wine, all in the name of Christ Jesus.

And so as we go to the Eucharist now, let us pray in Thanksgiving for so great a gift of Christ, so great the gifts the church gives us. And let us pray that each and every day we will live in that light, that grace, remembering, gift giving and share the gift with others always done in the name of Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.