Sunday, 10 January 2016

The First Sunday after Epiphany in Ordinary Time

Today is the First Sunday after Epiphany and until the Feast of the Holy Family was added to the traditional calendar in the 1920's it was known as this. The Gospel was then and is now, the Our Lord's presence in the Temple, doing His Father's will, for the "escapade" as a bad boy who had to apologise as the Bishop or Rome surmised on the Feast in the modernist calendar. The cycle of Gospels in the traditional lectionary dates from at least the sixth century, it was a very rare thing indeed for anyone to change it, so to change the name of the "day" and to honour The Holy Family, which was not "irregular" as Tom Rosica surmised, was not a major shift in liturgical praxis. 

In the modernist calendar, today is the Baptism of the Lord which falls on January 13 in the traditional calendar unless it falls on a Sunday. While this is a good thing, to have it on a Sunday, changing it to the First Sunday after Epiphany derogated chronologically the continuing manifestations, or showing, of Our Lord after His birth. We have the Epiphany, the Temple appearance to the Elders, the Baptism, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the curing of the Leper, the witness of the Centurion and so on. All beautiful elements of our liturgical cycle that help us to wonder in the glow of the season of Christmastide and Epiphanytide. Today, in the  modernist calendar, marks the end of the Christmas season which ends in the traditional with the Presentation in the Temple and Purification of Mary on Candlemas. 

One should note that prior to the Roman Missal of 1962, there was also an Octave of the Epiphany which I would argue should be restored in both Forms of the Roman Rite along with the Octave of Pentecost in the modernist rite.

One might wonder why I have called it the "modernist rite." Really, what else can one say about it? While I do not debate its validity, it truly was an invention of men who must have truly hated the faith for there can be no other explanation for why they tore it apart. It is worth noting that in the new Ordinariate (Anglican Roman Catholic) Missal, today is Baptism of the Lord but next Sunday is the Second Sunday after Epiphany and they follow After Trinity later in the year, an Anglican tradition versus After Pentecost.

The liturgical calendar wheel, above, displays beautifully, the "Half Year of the Lord" and the "Half Year of the Church" which is clear in the Time After Pentecost and so lost in the pick-up of Ordinary Time.

In our home, the Fox and Vox will maintain our Christmas celebrations with tree and manger and decoration and food and outdoor lights until Candlemas. From a practical point, Christmas week is just so busy with all the singing that we really need this time to enjoy the season.

Southern Orders blog by Father Allan J. MacDonald had a post on this matter and I wish to lift from there a comment by a Canadian, "Andrew" which summarises well, the importance of maintaining our traditions. 

Andrew said...

The traditional calendar I think is much more in synch with a fuller understanding of the human person, created body and soul in the image of God to adore his creator. Most people don't like abrupt changes.
I wonder if anyone who actually stopped to think about it really likes Christmas screeching to a halt with the feast of the Baptism instead of the gentle continuation of the Sundays of Epiphany with the gospel readings each Sunday speaking to Christ revealing himself as God, which connects to the 40 days after Christmas feast the Presentation of the Lord which itself beautifully combines the true light of the nations from his crèche to the cross in the temple where we encounter his mysterious beauty and divine light each Sunday.
Or who really likes Ash Wednesday bombing out of the air without Septuagesima to prepare for unless we've happened to check the secular calendar to see when it is. Lastly who really likes Pentecost since we are supposed to be all about mission these days being relegated to a Sunday instead of the full Octave an important day would seem to call for. No wonder people don't think it is important. You can only do so much in one day before you have to get back to ordinary time, which I guess is supposed to be important on its own... but maybe we would be better able to live it if we took proper time to live God's mysteries and the reason we have ordinary time.
That being said thanks to the bishops saying it was too hard for everyone to get to Mass except for Sundays and thereby moving all the obligation days to the closest Sunday who thinks Sunday Mass itself is even important anymore? Instead of fewer people committing sin (which they wouldn't be if they legitimately couldn't make it anyway) we have more people committing sin it would seem... at least in my area in Canada it seems that since New Years and Christmas were so close to Sunday people skipped their Sunday obligation in favour of the only two holy days of obligation we have all year!!
It is just bad psychology. People aren't dumb and they hear the message you send. Days of Obligation are not important so stay home or go shop or whatever... therefore Sunday isn't that important either after a while.
Abrupt changes aren't how we actually want to live our life because they are stressful and therefore the Church year is stressful and one more thing to jettison, along with all the mystery and beauty in it. A psychology rooted in a better understanding of the human person would have advised bishops in the danger of all of this nonsense.


Barona said...

Merry and blessed Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Christ is Born!

On the Byzantine Catholic calendar, we celebrate the visit of the Three Kings on the Nativity. Jan. 6 (Gregorian) is the Feast of Theophany (in the Latin Church, the Baptism of the Lord).

Theophany originally encompassed the Nativity, Three Kings, His Baptism, the wedding at Cana etc. In the middle of the 4tb century the Nativity was transferred to Dec. 25 to supersede the pagan festival of Souls Invictus. The pagans celebrated the coming of the sun, while Christ is the "Sun of righteousness".

Only the Armenians celebrate all the different manifestations of God (and in particular, God the Son).

Theophany is a BIG Holy Day for us. We fast from meat, dairy products and anything that contains meat and/or dairy products on the vigil of Theophany, On the Feast itself, the priest solemnly blesses the water, and if near a river, the river/lake is blessed too.

And we still celebrate up to and including the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord!