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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Epiphany of the Lord – 8th January 2012
I’ve never actually heard her sing as I don’t really like Wagner and the proverb refers to Brunhilde singing the last aria in the final part of his operatic suite Der Ring des Nibelungun. But for our liturgical purposes we might think that today she would sing four little words that appear in the Divine Office book – “The end of Christmastide.”

Many people will think that this little phrase applies to the end of the Epiphany because that generally marks the time when most Christians go back to work and back to school. Indeed, given that it is now celebrated on the Sunday nearest to 6 January it marks the end of the “holiday” season even more obviously and no doubt lots of trees will be put out for recycling by tomorrow morning. But those words do not appear today. Rather they are found at the end of evening prayer for the Baptism of the Lord which we will celebrate next Sunday and so the season of Christmas continues for another week for us.

This liturgical point is important to keep in mind. Until today there is a harmony to the crib scene – there is a familiarity about it and all is contained within the people of Israel. The ultimate and final revelation of God kept hidden through the ages but unveiled and manifest in the person of Jesus of Nazareth fulfils His plan of salvation for His holy people. However, God’s plan was not only to save Israel but the whole of mankind. Hence today three figures totally out of place appear in the crib showing that the Kingdom of God is to be made up of all peoples and it is not an exclusive club.

And there is more because after their visit the Magi went back to their own countries and their lives just as we go back to work, college or school. Those who came to worship Jesus and bowed down in adoration and love understood that the Mystery kept hidden had been revealed – do you think they kept it to themselves? In their return to “normality” they shared this wonderful news with others. So must we, especially this week until the fat lady sings next Sunday evening.
On a personal note, thank you to everyone who helped make the church and our liturgies so beautiful over Christmas and the New Year. Thank you too for your kind and generous gifts and offerings. Above all, thank you Fr Kieran for your help, guidance and fraternity in my first few months here. I know that the parishioners are so grateful for your tireless, gentle and caring ministry over the past nine years and I hope we can continue that wonderful legacy you leave behind. For us, the fat lady sings a sad song but for the people of Bristol she sings a song of happiness – we join our prayers with theirs and wish you every happiness. May God bless you, Father.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:16 am