|Pope Benedict XVI incenses the altar during the Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany. (Photo: Aljazeera)|
Courtesy of the Google Translator, here is the text of the magnificent homily the Holy Father preached this morning at St. Peter's Basilica for the Solemnity of the Epiphany:
The Magi made considerable sacrifices in their journey to seek the newborn King. The journey was not an easy one; yet, it was one of joyful expectation. Little did they know that as they followed that bright Star, it would lead them to something beyond the fulfillment of all of their expectations: God, Himself, in the form of a child.
Experiencing the beauty of the celebration, even through satellite television, made me wonder why we need to move important feasts to the nearest Sunday. Granted, I understand that the transfer to Sunday would mean that more people would be able to partake of the feast; however, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf makes a compelling argument in his blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say" about keeping the integrity of the dates. January 6th is the 12th day of Christmas. There is significance in this date. English Catholics, keeping the Church alive in the underground during the persecutions of the Elizabethan regime, came up with the well-known (but sadly, misunderstood) Christmas carol, the 12 Days of Christmas, to symbolize the season.
Even in the Mexican-American tradition, the importance of January 6th is still kept. Regardless of the fact that the Epiphany is moved to a Sunday, countless people still hold fast to the January 6th date and mark the occasinon by indulging in a special cake called a "rosca". This cake, which looks like an oblong bundt cake, is in the shape of a crown. Imbedded within the "rosca" are one or two tiny figurines depcting the Christ Child. Whoever gets a piece containing the figurine must, by custom, host a celebration on February 2, the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord.
If people still maintain this custom, would it really be too hard of a stretch to just go ahead and reinstate January 6th as the Solemnity of the Epiphany in the calendar for the Ordinary Form of the Mass? Perhaps this is a question that the Church, or, at least, the various national episcopal conferences should re-examine.