Mass is of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany, with commemoration of the Octave: Missa “In excelso throno”
It is the Kingship of the divine Infant that the Church again proclaims in the opening Canticle of the Mass for the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany. She sings the praises of her Emmanuel’s Throne, and takes her part with the Angels who hymn the glory of Jesus’ eternal Empire. Let us do the same, and adore the King of Ages, in his Epiphany.
From twelve years old, a Jew was bound each year to keep the three feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. In the liturgy for Christmas-tide the whole of our Lord’s childhood is put before us and to-day we see Him in the Temple, where for the first time, He shows the Jews that God is His “Father” (Gospel).
“It was by no accident,” says St. Ambrose, “that this Child who, even according to the flesh, was full of wisdom and grace of God, forgetting His human parents should wish to be found after three days in the Temple. By this He intimated that three days after the triumph of His Passion, He who was believed to be dead should rise again and so offer Himself as the object of our faith, seated on a heavenly throne in heavenly glory. The truth is, that in His case, there is a two-fold birth: the one by which He is begotten of the Father, the other by which He is born of a mother. The first is wholly divine; by the second He humbles Himself to take our nature” (3rd. Noct.). This “Man sitting upon a High throne whom a multitude of angels adore singing together” (Introit) is, therefore, that Divine Child who is shown to us in to-day’s Gospel. “Sitting in the midst of the doctors who” were astonished at His wisdom and answers. Moreover since, “as God hath delivered to everyone the measure of Faith”, (Epistle) Christian souls form but “one body in Christ” (Epistle), they ought to be penetrated with the wisdom of Him who far from “conforming himself to the maxims of this world,” reforms “and rules human life according to the will of God” (Epistle).
“Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” said the young boy Jesus. This wholly supernatural wisdom whose guiding principles exceed, without destroying those of the natural order, is beyond our unaided powers. While seeking to curb our flesh by the mortification which such wisdom enjoins, sacrificing at times, even the most lawful affection, in pursuance of a divine call which draws children from their parents’ side, the plans of almighty God must needs remain for us hidden mysteries to be accepted without being completely understood. “They understood not the word that He spoke unto them” (Gospel). Following Mary who “kept all these words in her heart”, (Gospel) let us meditate on the sublimity of Jesus’ words and actions in the Temple. Like this Child whose whole life at Nazareth is summed up in the one word “subjection” (Gospel), let us grow in wisdom so that always we may “perceive what we ought to do,” and in strength “to fulfil the same” (Collect).
INTROIT Apoc. 4. 2; 5. 11.
Upon a high throne I saw a Man sitting, whom a multitude of Angels adore singing together: Behold Him the name of whose empire is for ever. — (Ps. 99. 1). O sing joyfully to the Lord, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. V.: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — Upon a high throne I saw a Man sitting, whom a multitude of Angels adore singing together: Behold Him the name of whose empire is for ever.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, hear of Thy heavenly goodness the prayers of Thy suppliant people: that they may both perceive what things they ought to do, and also may have power to fulfill the same. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Commemoratio die infra Octavam Epiphaniae
O God, You Who by the guidance of a star this day revealed Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; mercifully grant that we who know You now by faith, may come to behold You in glory. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
EPISTLE Rom. 12. 1-5
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Brethren, I beseech you, by the mercy of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Ps. 71. 18, 3
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things from the beginning. V.: Let the mountains receive peace for Thy people and the hills justice.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 99. 1). Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 2. 42-52
When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintences. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: how is it that you sought Me Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And he went down with them and come to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace with God and men.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Luke 2. 22.
Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve ye the Lord with gladness: come in before His presence with exceeding great joy: for the Lord He is God.
O Lord, may the Sacrifice we offer up to Thee ever quicken and protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Commemoratio die infra Octavam Epiphaniae
O Lord, look favorably upon the gifts of Your Church, which are no longer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, but, as these gifts signify, our offering is Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, Who is now sacrifice and food. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
PREFACE of the Epiphany
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: for when Thine only-begotten Son was manifested in the substance of our mortal flesh, with the new light of His own Immortality He restored us. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
Communicating, and keeping this most holy day on which Thine only-begotten Son, who is coeternal with Thee in Thy glory, showed Himself in true flesh and with a visible body like unto us; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 2. 48, 49
Son, why hast Thou done so to us? I and Thy father have sought Thee sorrowing. How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?
O almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee, that Thou wouldst grant to those whom Thou dost refresh with Thy Sacraments that they may serve Thee worthily by a manner of life pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Commemoratio die infra Octavam Epiphaniae
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that, by the understanding of our minds made pure, we may grasp what we celebrate by these solemn rites. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.