Archive for the 'Church Calendar' Category

What Is the Feast Day of Epiphany?

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

For the grace of God [i.e., Jesus] has appeared [Greek: epiphany], bringing salvation for all people.

Titus 2:11

The feast day of Epiphany is celebrated in the Western church every year on January 6th. It commemorates the appearing, or manifestation, of God in Christ as Savior to the world. Epiphany is the oldest feast in the church calendar, it is especially revered in the Orthodox East. Three events in the life of Christ are commemorated: the arrival of the Magi, the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana. Appropriately, these three stories, all revelatory events, are found at the beginning of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, respectively.

The Apostle John tells us, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). Jesus who is God incarnate in human flesh is revealed to the Gentile wise men, manifested as the Lamb of God, and made known as Messiah in his first miracle. Now, the saving life of Christ has been fully manifested to both Jew and Gentile alike. Let us join the Magi, John the Baptist, and the wedding feast at Cana by worshipping Jesus in all his saving glory.

The conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith (Matt. 2:1-12). They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him – but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving – but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary’s knee, and worshiped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith.

They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new-born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world. ‘They fell down and worshiped Him.’

We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a criminal, and yet prayed to Him and ‘called Him Lord.’ The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshiped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!”

J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, 12-13.

HT: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Who Is a Saint on All-Saints Day?

Thursday, November 1st, 2012


To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.

1 Cor. 1:2 ESV

Who is a saint on All-Saints Day? Let’s break down each term.

Who is a saint? You are, if you have given your life to Christ receiving him both as your Savior and Lord.

What is a saint? A saint is not someone who is perfect, but a sinner who looks to Christ for life-transforming grace in their chronic weaknesses and on-going struggles. Saints are not those who perform adequately in the spiritual life, but are those who most available to the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power. Saints are needy, they know they cannot live the Christian life by their own energy and resources. Biblical saints look constantly to Christ for help. They know their need for Christ. True saints are not the most adequate, but the most desperate for Christ and his love.

What is All-Saints Day? All-Saints Day is celebrated every year on November First, a day set aside to honor those men and women of the past who trusted Christ though want, need, rejection, and persecution.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others: the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

A Holy Week Reflection

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Luke 23:33

Holy Week is the most wonderful week of the year. The week that changed the world. The week that changed history. The week that changed all of us. The week that changed me.

Maundy Thursday: God incarnate, Jesus Christ, washes feet. God displays by his actions that there is nothing too menial that he will not do in order to serve us. He calls us to do the same: serve others.

Good Friday: This Friday is good above all others. Good Friday is not a funeral or a memorial. Good Friday is God’s victory over all our enemies: the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil.

Holy Saturday: Saturday from a human perspective is a day of desperation and discouragement, but this day is actually the day of Hell’s vanquishing. Saturday is the ultimate paradox.

Resurrection Sunday: Jesus’ victory on Friday is declared to the world on Sunday. Hope is poured forth upon us. Hope is the confident expectation that the good things that God has promised, he will bring to pass, and he has brought to pass life eternal in his presence.

Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your Cross my victory, in your Resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.

Jeremy Taylor, The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers