Friday, January 10, 2014

Not the fifth day in the Octave of the Epiphany

The readings for the old Octave of the Epiphany that would have been used today in the Benedictine Office are as follows:

Homily by St Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. i. Comm. on Matth. ii.
We have seen His star in the East. In order that the Jews might be confounded by hearing from the Gentiles of the birth of Christ, the star rose in the East. They knew that it would come, by the prophecy of Balaam, whose successors they were. See the Book of Numbers, xxiv. 17. The star led the wise men to Judea, that the Priests, having it demanded of them where Christ should be born, might have no power to plead that they knew not of His coming.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea, this is a mistake of copyists. In our opinion, what the Evangelist wrote must have been, not of Judea, but of Judah. Thus it is in the Hebrew text. Nor is there any town called Bethlehem among any other people, that this should be called of Judea to distinguish it. But it is fitly distinguished as of Judah, because there is in Judea another Bethlehem, namely, the one in Galilee. See the Book of Joshua the son of Nun. xix. 15. Finally, the passage cited, which is in the prophet Micah, v. 2, hath But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah(, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.)

And treasures they presented unto Him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. The mystic meaning of these gifts is thus neatly expressed by Juvencus the Priest, To God made man, born Israel's King, Frankincense, myrrh, and gold they bring. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. They who had presented unto the Lord gifts, were honoured by receiving a warning, not from an Angel, but from God Himself; whereas even Joseph was warned only by an Angel. They departed into their own country another way, that they might not be brought into contact with the unbelief of the Jews.

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