January 6, 2004
Tuesday
Feast of the Epiphany
Double of the First Class
vol 15, no. 6

Come, Let us Adore Him

Why the Epiphany and the principals surrounding the Magi are so pertinent today

    "The story of the magi, the Holy Family, and the wicked Herod who sought to destroy the true heir to the throne of David, Jesus Christ, can be seen as a microcosm which is expanded by St. John in the Apocalypse to the cosmic struggle going on in the heavens between the Red Dragon and the Woman clothed with the sun. This in turn illuminates the struggle of the Church in its present crisis. As the Dragon pursues the Woman into the desert, so the Church is retreating into the desert of private homes, motel rooms, and lean-to chapels. As the Dragon spews forth a river of water in an attempt to drown the Woman and her Child, so contemporary 'Herods' spew forth the heresy of Modernism, which has almost overwhelmed the Church. In the Apocalypse, the desert comes to the rescue of the Woman by swallowing the river of water that was meant to engulf her. We trust that God will soon raise up great saints and popes who will turn back the tide of heresy and defeat the Red Dragon by preaching the true Gospel and restoring authentic Tradition."

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Double of the First Class Feast of the Epiphany, he reiterates how regal men of great wealth bowed and knelt before the greatest of Kings exemplifying what all others must do. Father points out that Herod and his dynasty of seven members was no 'coincidence' but part of Divine prophecy for Herod was not of true Israeli blood. He was an 'Idumaean' - a hybrid if you will - which means 'red' and could very well refer to the Red Dragon of the Apocalypse. Father goes on to equate the Herods in the Church today who persecute the innocent - read Traditional Catholics - in slaying the unchangeable tenets of the True Faith. Like the desert of the Apocalypse we can only pray that it will swallow the river of denial and heresies that has flooded so many souls today and, with the help of the Woman - the Blessed Virgin Mary - restore Christ's Mystical Bride - His holy Church. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

    The Feast of the Epiphany is a celebration of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, to the nations. The name 'Epiphany' means 'manifestation', and it refers in particular to the manifestation of the Divinity of Christ, to which the star that guided the Magi, or Wise Men, gives testimony. But the Feast also looks forward to the Baptism of Jesus, when the Father spoke from Heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased," and to the first miracle of Jesus at the marriage feast of Cana, where He manifested His divinity by changing water into wine.

    By the guidance of a star, the wise men are brought to Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They kneel before Him in adoration, just as the whole world is called to do. As St. Paul tells us, "God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father" (Phil.2:9-11).

    We also have come to adore Him and confess that He is the Light of our lives. The most profound ignorance is not to know Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. This ignorance is represented in Sacred Scripture as darkness, since Jesus Christ has come to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, meaning that He has been sent by the Father to enlighten everyone in the world. "It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world" (Jn.1:9).

    Many of those who are still trapped in this darkness are to be pitied because they have not yet had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of salvation. But there are also the enemies of the Gospel, representatives of darkness, consumed with the desire to extinguish the light of Christ which throughout history has emanated from His holy Church. Their prototype was King Herod, whose jealousy led to the murder of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. Herod had rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple, and he fancied himself the successor to the throne of David. But Herod was an Idumaean, not a Jew, and could not be a true claimant to David's throne. He was so paranoid about someone usurping his throne that he executed many close associates and members of his own family, including his wife, his mother-in-law, his brother-in-law, and two of his own sons. The Emperor Augustus is said to have remarked, "It is better to be Herod's swine than his son."

    Some Catholic biblical scholars see Herod as the prototype or model for the Red Dragon which pursued the Woman clothed with the sun, in the Apocalypse of St. John. The name 'Idumaean' actually means 'red'. The Red Dragon is described as having seven heads, which may allude to the seven members of the Herodian dynasty, who persecuted Jesus and His followers. It was the first and worst Herod, featured in our Gospel today, who pursued Mary, the Woman, and the Child Jesus, so that they had to escape into Egypt under the protection of St. Joseph.

    Mary herself eminently qualifies as the Woman of Sacred Scripture mentioned for the first time in the Book of Genesis, where God addresses the serpent: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Gn.3:15). In the Gospel of St. John, Mary is not called by her proper name, so as to highlight more clearly her role as the Woman, Jesus Himself actually addressing her as 'Woman' twice, once at the marriage feast of Cana (Jn.2:4), and once from the cross (Jn.19:26).

    The story of the magi, the Holy Family, and the wicked Herod who sought to destroy the true heir to the throne of David, Jesus Christ, can be seen as a microcosm which is expanded by St. John in the Apocalypse to the cosmic struggle going on in the heavens between the Red Dragon and the Woman clothed with the sun. This in turn illuminates the struggle of the Church in its present crisis. As the Dragon pursues the Woman into the desert, so the Church is retreating into the desert of private homes, motel rooms, and lean-to chapels. As the Dragon spews forth a river of water in an attempt to drown the Woman and her Child, so contemporary 'Herods' spew forth the heresy of Modernism, which has almost overwhelmed the Church. In the Apocalypse, the desert comes to the rescue of the Woman by swallowing the river of water that was meant to engulf her. We trust that God will soon raise up great saints and popes who will turn back the tide of heresy and defeat the Red Dragon by preaching the true Gospel and restoring authentic Tradition.

    In our own lives we have all experienced the power of evil. We have three traditional enemies - the world, the flesh, and the devil. We know that the devil uses every trick he can to turn us away from God and to destroy our spiritual lives. But we also have powerful friends. It says in the Apocalypse that the Woman, in the safety of the desert, after her Child is taken up into Heaven, takes care of the rest of her children. Mary takes care of us. And like Mary, our Mother the Church does also, through her sacraments, her prayers, her teaching, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May Jesus Christ, before Whom every knee must bow, assist His Bride the Church in her present trials, and lead us all to the glorious reward of Heaven.

Father Louis J. Campbell

For the Proper of Today's Holy Mass - Missa "Ecce advenit Dominator", see Feast of the Epiphany


January 6, 2004
vol 15, no. 6
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons

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