Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 2 : 1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, during the days of king Herod, wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw the rising of His star in the East and have come to honour Him.”

When Herod heard this he was greatly disturbed, and with him all Jerusalem. He immediately called a meeting of all high-ranking priests and scribes, and asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

“In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,” they told him, “For this is what the prophet wrote : And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the clans of Judah, for from you will come a Leader, the One Who is to shepherd My people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called the wise men and asked them the precise time the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem with the instruction, “Go and get accurate information about the Child. As soon as you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may go and honour Him.”

After the meeting with the king, they set out. The star that they had seen in the East went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the Child was. The wise men were overjoyed on seeing the star again. They went into the house, and when they saw the Child with Mary His mother, they knelt and worshipped Him. They opened their bags and offered Him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

In a dream they were warned not to go back to Herod, so they returned to their home country by another way.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ephesians 3 : 2-3a, 5-6

You may have heard of the graces God bestowed on me for your sake. By a revelation He gave me the knowledge of His mysterious design. This mystery was not made known to past generations but only now, through revelations given to holy Apostles and prophets.

Now the non-Jewish people share the Inheritance; in Christ Jesus the non-Jews are incorporated and are to enjoy the Promise. This is the Good News.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

O God, endow the King with Your justice, the Royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

The kings of Tarshish and the islands render Him tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts, all kings bow down to Him, and all nations serve Him.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor, He saves the life of the poor.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 60 : 1-6

Arise, shine, for your Light has come. The Glory of YHVH rises upon you. Night still covers the earth and gloomy clouds veil the peoples, but YHVH now rises and over you His glory appears. Nations will come to your Light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes round about and see : they are all gathered and come to you, your sons from afar, your daughters tenderly carried. This sight will make your face radiant, your heart throbbing and full; the riches of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

A flood of camels will cover you, caravans from Midian and Ephah. Those from Sheba will come, bringing with them gold and incense, all singing in praise of YHVH.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today on this Sunday we mark the occasion of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which also marks the last day of the entire Christmas season in our liturgical calendar and year. It means that after the more than two weeks of celebrations since Christmas Day, beginning tomorrow, we shall enter into the Ordinary Time of the year. Of course traditionally Christmas is still being celebrated all the way up to the second day of February, the fortieth day since Christmas, marking a traditional forty days of Christmas season. But this day marks that transition from our focus and emphasis on the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, and into His ministry and works in this world, with the moment of Baptism marking that significant new beginning and change.

If we recall our Scripture readings of the previous days, it was leading up to this moment of the Baptism of the Lord, when the early life stage of Our Lord, growing up from a Child to adulthood ended, and then, the Lord finally entered into the beginning of the mission and works that He had been sent into this world for. That Baptism at the Jordan marked the moment when He was also revealed yet another time, to St. John the Baptist and those present at His baptism, Who He really is. The Lord Jesus indeed had no need for purification or baptism, but yet, He still shared in the same Baptism that all of us as members of the Church had gone through, not because of His sins or impurities, which He had none, but because He wanted to share with us His death and Resurrection, to bring us into the promise of eternal glory and life.

The Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordan symbolically marks the beginning of His ministry of bringing all of us, the lost sheep and flock of God back to Him, because Christ is our Good Shepherd, Who has come into this world to seek for us and to gather all of us back into God’s loving embrace. He has gathered all of us, and shares with us our human existence and life, so that, by also sharing our common Baptism, He may lead us all through the waters of death and rebirth, just the way the people of Israel went through the Red Sea, walking through the water, from their slavery in Egypt and the desolation they had there, into the freedom that God had promised them, and the promise of happiness and joy in the Promised Land that God had promised them and their forefathers.

Now, as we celebrate this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are all called to remember the moment of our own baptism, when we were received into the Church whether as infants or as adults. If we were too young to remember any details because we were baptised as infants, then we should go and find out more about that important moment from our godparents and/or those who were there to witness our baptism, especially while they are still around us. The moment of baptism is something that is essentially as important as our own birthdays, just as the Lord Jesus said in one occasion to Nicodemus, the faithful Pharisee, that to be His followers and disciples, is like one that is born again through the Spirit, and baptism is that moment marking our rebirth into this new life and existence.

How about us? Do we remember our baptism and do we keep it as an important event in our lives? Do we celebrate it the way we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord today in this Feast day? Or do we just let it be a mere footnote and another event in our lives, and not paying more attention to its significance and importance to us? All of us as Christians must recall our Baptism with the same vigour and zeal just as we rejoice and celebrate this Feast today, and also remember the baptismal promises that we have made then, and renewed every year at Easter. Many people could not even remember the date and time of their baptism, and this tells just how little importance we assign to that moment which should have been a truly groundbreaking, memorable and watershed moment in our lives and existence in this world.

The reason why we remember our baptism is also not just so that we recall what we have promised, but also a reminder that we have to continue carrying on the way of life that is expected of us as baptised Catholics, as members of the Lord’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Baptism is not the end of our journey as Christians, especially for those of us who went through the process of initiation into the Christian faith through a period of discernment and catechumenate, and it is not the pinnacle of our Christian journey. Rather, baptism marks that new beginning in our lives in which we have begun a new path of life and existence, dedicating it all to Christ, and striving our best to follow Him in our path of life. Just as the Baptism that the Lord Jesus experienced at the Jordan began His ministry formally, our own baptism should be the point marking the new beginning of our lives.

It means that we are all called towards a better and holier existence, one that is more attuned to the Lord and to His ways and His truth. We are all called to answer God’s call in our lives, making good use of whatever provisions and gifts, blessings and graces that He has given to each one of us. As Christians, we cannot be idle believers, as those who are idle and do nothing at all, are those whose faith are lukewarm and without sincerity, and in the words of St. James, faith without good works and deeds is essentially a dead and useless faith, the faith of a hypocrite that does nothing for the person, and is of no use when we have to account for ourselves on the Day of Judgment. The Lord has given us all His blessings, graces, various talents and abilities so that we may make good use of them for the benefit of others, our fellow brothers and sisters all around us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice today in this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, let us all spend some time to reflect on whether we have been truly faithful to God in our actions and deeds, in our way of life and believing in Him. If we have not been truly faithful and devoted to Him, then the time is now for us to really consider and discern our path going forward in life, and we should spend the time to think of how we can better glorify God by our lives and actions, in each and every daily moments and at all opportunities. Let us all strive to draw ever closer to God and to remain firmly committed to walk the path towards His salvation and grace, fulfilling and ever being mindful of our baptismal promises. May the Lord, by Whose Baptism we have been saved, through His suffering and death on the Cross, and by His glorious Resurrection, empower us and strengthen us that we may always ever be faithful to Him, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 3 : 13-17

At that time, Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan, to be baptised by Him. But John tried to prevent Him, and said, “How is it, You come to me? I should be baptised by You!”

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be like that for now; so that we may fulfil the right order.” John agreed.

As soon as He was baptised, Jesus came up out of the water. All at once, the heavens opened and He saw the Spirit of God come down, like a Dove, and rest upon Him. At the same time, a voice from heaven was heard, “This is My Son, the Beloved; He is My Chosen One.”

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 10 : 34-38

Peter then spoke to Cornelius and his family, “Truly, I realise that God does not show partiality, but in all nations He listens to everyone who fears God and does good. And this is the message He has sent to the children of Israel, the Good News of peace He has proclaimed through Jesus Christ, Who is the Lord of all.”

“No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached. You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power, because God was with Him.”

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 28 : 1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9b-10

Give the Lord, o sons of God, give the Lord glory and strength, give the Lord the glory due His Name; worship the Lord in great liturgy.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over vast waters. How powerful is the voice of the Lord, how splendorous is the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord makes the oaks shudder, the Lord strips the forests bare, and in His Temple all cry, “Glory!” Over the flood the Lord was sitting; the Lord is King and He reigns forever.

Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 42 : 1-4, 6-7

Here is My Servant Whom I uphold, My Chosen One in Whom I delight. I have put My Spirit upon Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. He does not shout or raise His voice, proclamations are not heard in the streets. A broken reed He will not crush, nor will He snuff out the light of the wavering wick. He will make justice appear in truth.

He will not waver or be broken until He has established justice on earth; the islands are waiting for His law. I, YHVH, have called You for the sake of justice; I will hold Your hand to make You firm; I will make You as a Covenant to the people, and as a Light to the nations, to open eyes that do not see, to free captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness.

(Usus Antiquior) Feast of the Holy Family (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 January 2023 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Preface, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Luke 2 : 22

Tulerunt Jesum parentes Ejus in Jerusalem, ut sisterent Eum Domino.

English translation

The parents of Jesus carried Him to the Temple, to present Him to the Lord.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Placationis hostiam offerimus Tibi, Domine, suppliciter deprecantes : ut, per intercessionem Deiparae Virginis cum beato Joseph, familias nostras in pace et gratia Tua firmiter constituas. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

To appease You, o Lord, we offer the Victim of Salvation, humbly beseeching You that, through the prayers of the Virgin Mother of God and of St. Joseph, You would establish our households in Your peace and favour. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of the Epiphany

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos Tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Quia, cum Unigenitus Tuus in substantia nostrae mortalitatis apparuit, nova nos immortalitatis suae luce reparavit.

Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus hymnum gloriae Tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always and in all places, give thanks to You, o Holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, because Your only Begotten Son appearing in our mortal nature had restored it by the shedding upon us of that new and immortal light which is His very own.

And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions and with all the array of the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to Your glory and unceasingly repeat :

Communion

Luke 2 : 51

Descendit Jesus cum eis, et venit Nazareth, et erat subditus illis.

English translation

Jesus went down with them, and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.

Post-Communion Prayer

Quos caelestibus reficis sacramentis fac, Domine Jesu, sanctae Familiae Tuae exempla jugiter imitari : ut in hora mortis nostrae, occurrente gloriosa Virgine Matre Tua cum beato Joseph; per Te in aeterna tabernacula recipi mereamur : Qui vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritu Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

May You, o Lord, bring us whom You have refreshed with heavenly mysteries to imitate the example of Your holy Family, that at the hour of our death, with the Virgin Mother and blessed Joseph at hand, we may be received by You into our everlasting home. You who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.