Your Sunday Sermon Notes – Holy Name/Epiphany – 2020

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard at the Mass that fulfilled your Sunday Obligation? What was it?

There are a lot of people who don’t get many good points in the sermons they must endure.

In the traditional Roman Rite today we celebrated the Most Holy Name of Jesus.  In the newfangled calendar most people got a transferred Epiphany.  Real Epiphany, aka Twelfth Night, is tomorrow.

For my part…

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  1. Bailey Walker says:

    I was very surprised this morning to discover that the regular TLM being celebrated by the pastor was that of the Epiphany rather than the Holy Name. I am not aware of any legal provision for such an “external solemnity.” He referred to his decision to celebrate Epiphany rather than Holy Name in his sermon so it was not an oversight. What say you?

  2. ex seaxe says:

    Since we are OF we celebrated the Holy Name on Friday, and heard a brief homily mostly about the value of maintaining the traditional bow of the head at the Name of Jesus.

  3. robert hightower says:

    My understanding based on anecdotal experience is that pastors may celebrate a first class feast as an “external solemnity” on a Sunday. I suppose I thought it would be the Sunday following the feast, but maybe it’s any Sunday. I’ve never heard of it being used for Epiphany though. If only life were such that Mass were obligatory and there were feasts to celebrate all aspects of the Nativity, Holy Name, Maternity of Mary, the Magi, the Baptism, the first miracle, the circumcision, etc. I suppose we have to make choices until, God willing, we have full understanding in the beatific vision.

    The legal allowances for such an observance and the prudence of the same are two very different issues, I see both sides of each.

  4. robert hightower says:

    Our pastor this morning made excellent points about how religious indifference and universal salvation appeals so much to us because it lets us off the hook of the difficult work of evangelization. On the other hand, we must avoid the temptation to act arrogantly for our being Catholic and instead let our work of evangelization be that of pulling other people into the boat of safety. It was an excellent message for today when much of apologetics, while intellectually more solid than its ever been, is very commonly weaponized.

  5. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Depends what you mean by fulfilling the obligation. At 13.30 on Saturday I was at a funeral conducted by the SSPX in Nancy, France. The deceased was a nonagenarian nobleman whose 11 children each had on aberage ten children. Close relatives this filled the church and others like me overfilled it.

    The priest looked around and realised that there were a great many non traditionalists and probably some non believers too.

    So he began by stating the rules: you cannot take communion unless you are a Catholic, not living in sin, who has been to confession within the past year, and has no unconfessed mortal sin. He added that he will not give communion in the hand, or to anyone standing except for reasons of infirmity.

    This was well received by all, as clarity always is.

    After that His sermon was in two parts (1) what can we still do for the deceased (masses and prayer) (2) how can we benefit from the fact that we are not yet deceased (repent).

  6. Isa says:

    I attended a TLM today, and it was the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; however, we don’t have ferial TLMs here and, in the ordinary form, Epiphany was celebrated today. So, if I can’t find an Epiphany Mass tomorrow, have I fulfilled this holy day of obligation? (In my country, it is a holy day of obligation transferred to sunday). Could anybody help?

  7. JPCahill says:

    So many good points that I — not for the first time — wish I’d taken notes. Many interesting historical and devotional points, including the traditions surrounding the relics at Cologne Cathedral. What I remember in particular is Fr’s analogy regarding how Our Lord’s coming was met in Jerusalem with the same three attitudes He still meets. From Herod, whose position, possessions, or pleasures might be threatened: hatred. From the Magi: adoration. And from the religious leaders of the time: indifference. They apparently knew that something great was happening at Bethlehem but they couldn’t be bothered. The Magi left Jerusalem alone.

    There was even a two or three sentence segue into what a mistake celebrating Mass versus populum is. Not quite sure in retrospect how we arrived at that point. But I was not displeased.

  8. JonPatrick says:

    Ordinary Form Mass for Epiphany. This is an important event because Christ is revealed to the Gentiles, to the whole world. We need to let Christ be revealed in our hearts.

    After the homily we had a very long set of prayers blessing water, salt and chalk which were then available for parishioners to take home. The prayers were very powerful and seemed almost like an exorcism to chase away the evil spirits. At the end of Mass Father also did the traditional inscription 20+C+M+B+20 on the inside door lintel of the church.

  9. Imrahil says:

    I did a little Church-hopping yesterday.

    For some reason (which is, er, one of the things to be fought against in the new year), I arrived at the Mass for the Blessed Name of Jesus, EF, when the sermon was already over. (Looking forward to hearing your sermon, reverend Father.) Afterwards, there was the Blessing of the Font in all its glory. Sometimes these rites are almost a sermon in themselves, especially if long.

    Then I went to the Dominicans where the Second Sunday of Christmastide, OF, was celebrated. (There is such a thing.) I had gone there on purpose because a sermon on the mystery of the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ by a preacher whom I remember to have preached an excellent sermon on “Catholic thoughts about Luther” had been announced. Also, I had not been in a Mass of the Day on Christmas (the celebrant then had chosen to consider the time 10:30 as “morning”), and I wanted to hear a sermon on the Christmas Gospel. I was not disappointed. Long story short, the basic thoughts were about like this:

    We are hearing the prologue of the Gospel of St. John again. The Church really does seem to like it. After Christmas Day, we are hearing it now again. In the traditional form of Holy Mass, this tendency is even more pronounced; it is there said almost every day of the year as “the so-called Final Gospel” (he actually said precisely this in a Novus Ordo Mass, I thought I could not trust my ears!), “a tradition which by the way has been started by us Dominicans”. (After all, there has to be a little local patriotism :-) ). The Gospel is admittedly difficult, so what is in there?

    Three points: 1., God the Word in the beginning. “The beginning” means before all creationg; in fact, it is sort-of a name of God Himself. Why is Christ called “Word”? Well, think of ourselves when we think of something. When we see this Church here, the statues there, the people in it, then we can only think about it by putting the things into words, “Church”, “statues”, “people”; even merely thinking about oneself requires a word, namely, “self”. Now God has been before all creation; what had he to look at? Himself; and being infinite and divine, His self-recognisance is itself infinite and divine. And so the Holy Trinity – “with the Holy Spirit who is not explicitly mentioned here” has been there all eternity.
    The 2. point probably was about creation; I don’t recall that so precisely.
    The 3. point obviously was on “the Word hath taken flesh and dwelt among us” and our need to welcome Him and, doing so, become children of God. Then I left at the offertory to have lunch and things like that.

    – In the evening I went to an anticipated Holy-Day Mass of the Epiphany in our Cathedral, for three reasons: one, I had fulfilled my Sunday duty only “precariously”, as it were, with Gospel and the actual-Mass part at different Masses. Two, I might go twice for Epiphany, it being such a high solemnity and all. Three, much as I love the EF, one of my favorite hymns is an Epiphany hymn and, alas, absent from the typical EF songbooks but omnipresent in OF epiphany Masses, and I wouldn’t have time for an OF Mass on Epiphany itself. (I am talking about Hört, es singt und klingt mit Schalle with the nice line which, in English, would go about like this:

    For to Earth he has come from the highes’
    to-o save si-inners and the pious”;

    and I distinctly remember that in my childhood, influenced by the general tone of religious instruction and all, I had thought it rather fresh from us to sing that He came not only for the sinners but even for the pious after all.)

    I was not disappointed there either; we duly sang Hört, es singt und klingt mit Schalle for the offertory (because it also contains the lines “With the high ones [the Wise Men] and with the low ones [the shepherds], we as well want to offer Him gifts”). There was, of course, also a sermon; it stressed the need for adoration and warmly recommended the people who shine with joy in God, thereby perhaps becoming “stars” for others to lead to the crib; people as we, for instance, find at charismatic-style festivals like now in Augsburg and at Pentecost in Salzburg. (As he had mentioned Pentecost, I mentally added “the Chartres pilgrimage” and the somewhat different and perhaps not as easy-to-see, but nevertheless present joy there. I was very glad, though, about the mentioning of these festivals because they are firm representants of orthodox Catholicism and just as big no-no’s to the progressive establishment than traditionalists. And that right in the Cathedral!)

    At today’s Mass for Epiphany (it is a Holy Day of obligation here), our celebrant started by mentioning that this is the feast with most glamour of all Christmastide. “Go on, make yourself light, Jerusalem” – this refers to the fact that in antiquity, a city would be decorated with many lights when the ruler approached to enter it. So, this is the feast where the Ruler appears to mankind, with the Wise Men (representing the Heathen peoples) appearing at the crib. We, too, have seen many lights in Advent and Christmastide, and they really are wonderful to behold, especially in the dark season of winter. But, obviously, the prophet does not chiefly refer to the literal lights which a city decorates itself with when a ruler approaches, or which we have put about in Advent and Christmastide, but “make yourself light”, that is, becoming lights oneselves. This we do by letting God shine through, as in the prayer which we may have learnt by heart for First Communion (I hadn’t) and which runes like this (the Celebrant quoted it; as I afterwards accidentally found it in my missal among the Communion prayers, I can quote it now as well):

    Think thou in me, o Jesus,
    and I’ll think light and clear.
    Speak thou out of me, o Jesus,
    then I’ll speak mild and true.
    Act thou through me, o Jesus,
    then just my doing’ll be,
    my work will then be sanctified,
    and sanctified my rest.
    Fill my entire nature
    permeate my entire being,
    that from out of me, one can read
    the great, great love of Thee. Amen.

    (rhymes in German)

    (Excuse the length.)

  10. fichtnerbass says:

    We attended mass in the OF near the college our daughter attends and the deacon delivered the sermon and related the story of the fourth magi – Artaban. While he stated this was not part of the Gospel, his general exhortation was to “go and do thou likewise.”

  11. ajf1984 says:

    OF Mass of Epiphany at Holy Hill. Father touched on the Roman tradition of the 3 revelations of Christ associated with Epiphany (to the Magi, at the Baptism, and at Cana) and reminded us, rather forcefully, that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity did not undergo all that He underwent in order for us to be “OK” or to have a just-fine kind of relationship with Him and with our neighbors.

  12. CaliCatholicGuy says:

    OF mass for Epiphany. Father preached that the gifts of the Magi are representative of Jesus in their own way. Gold was chosen as Jesus is King. Frankincense was chosen as Jesus is our High Priest and Myrrh was for the anointing of his body when he sacrificed himself for us.

    Father also mentioned although tradition says there were 3 wise men we actually don’t really know how many there were – but that we assume at least 3 based on the number of gifts.

  13. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    The obligation is always for the day itself, or the preceding evening. The Mass celebrated (or Rite for that matter) has no bearing.

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