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Epiphany 6 January

The Epiphany
or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles

[January 6]

O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source Bishop Gregory of Rome [600 AD]. Cranmer in 1549 changed the original Latin which was "we who know thee now by faith, may be brought to the contemplation of thy Majesty through sight". Epiphany means "manifestation" and so this collect reinforces the first manifestation to the Gentiles by sight. We who only know our Master by faith, shall one day see him as a result of our faith. [Barbee & Zahl]

Ephesians iii. 1.   St. Matthew ii. 1.

A Homily by Gregory

Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Gospel how, when the King of heaven was born, an earthly king was troubled. For earthly greatness is brought to confusion when the might of heaven is made manifest. But let us ask a question: When the Redeemer was born, why was it that, to the shepherds of Judaea, an Angel was sent to bring tidings thereof, whereas it was a star that led the Wise Men of the East to worship him? It would seem that the Jews, who had been hitherto under the governance of reason, received a revelation from a reasonable being, that is, an Angel; but that the Gentiles, who knew not the right use of reason, were brought to the Lord, not by a voice, but by a sign, that is, by a star. Hence Paul hath it : Prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. So the prophesying was given to them that believed and the sign to them that believed not.

It is worthy of notice also, that to these same Gentiles the Redeemer, when he was of full age, was preached by his Apostles ; whereas while he was as yet the little Child, and unable to use the organs of speech, he was shewn to them, not by the voice of Angels, but merely by the vision of a star. When he himself had begun to speak he was made known to us by speakers, but when he lay silent in the manger, by that silent testimony I in the heavens. But whether we consider the signs which accompanied his birth or his death, this thing is wonderful, namely, the hardness of a heart of Jewry, which would not believe in him either for prophesying or for miracles.
All things which he had made bore witness that their Maker was come. Let me reckon them after the manner of men. The Heavens knew that he was God, and sent a star to shine over where he lay. The sea knew it, and bore him up when he walked upon it. The earth knew it, and quaked when he died. The sun knew it, and was darkened. The rocks and walls knew it, and were rent at the hour of his death. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that were in it. And yet up to the very hour the hearts of unbelieving Jewry will not acknowledge that he, to whom all nature hath testified, is their God. Yea, it is as though they are more hardened than the rocks and refuse to be rent by repentance.

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