Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A Blessed Epiphany to all! We celebrate today the Magi’s journey to Bethlehem where they follow the star and seek the newborn King of the Jews. After evading King Herod, they find Christ and believe he is the king, leaving their gifts, even though they discover a king not on a throne but in a manger. What faith they had!
Of the many traditions surrounding this holiday, one particularly beautiful one is the blessing of homes. In many cultures the priest would travel around the town blessing homes for the New Year. He would recite the prayers, sprinkle holy water, and then mark over the front door with chalk: 20 + C + M + B + 19. The numbers signify the year, and the letters joined by crosses have two meanings. First, they represent the names traditionally given to the Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Second, they serve as an abbreviation of the prayer: Christus mansionem benedicat – May Christ bless the home. The blessing served as a reminder to welcome Christ as the Magi did and invite him into the home. We so often forget that our faith shouldn’t stop at the doors of the Church, but should pervade our lives, especially our homes where we spend so much time and where our families have their foundation.
For myself as a priest, I find one of the best ways to get to know people is having these sorts of opportunities to spend even just a few moments with parishioners outside of Sunday Mass. As much as it’s great seeing everyone on Sunday, there isn’t much time to get to know everyone. So this year I would like to offer to bless the homes of anyone in the parish who might be interested. I know I speak on behalf of the other clergy in welcoming the opportunity to stop by and join you in praying for a blessed year.
Please know of our continued prayers and gratitude for all your generosity during the Advent and Christmas season. This parish is blessed with so many wonderful people of faith who make it a vibrant community that I do not doubt will only continue to flourish in the years to come.
Yours in Christ,