We Three Kings, the Feast of Epiphany

January 7, 2024 – We Three Kings, the Feast of Epiphany

Little is known about these magi from the East. Being “magi” we know they were well-educated scholars; and thus, likely from a royal family … hence sometimes called “Kings.” There are number of traditional stories about these magi which differ in details about who they were. The traditional story that made its way into Western Christianity (Roman Catholicism) is from the influential monk-historian, St. Bede the Venerable who wrote of three magi: “The magi were the ones who gave gifts to the Lord. The first is said to have been Melchior, an old man with white hair and a long beard … who offered gold to the Lord as to a king. The second, Caspar by name, young and beardless and ruddy complexioned … honored Him as God by his gift of incense, an oblation worthy of divinity. The third, black-skinned and heavily bearded, named Balthasar . . . by his gift of myrrh testified to the Son of Man who was to die.”

Another traditional story says that after they returned home, they renounced their high positions, gave all they had to the poor, and spread the Good News about the Christ Child. Forty years later St. Thomas the Apostle met them, baptized them, and ordained them priests. Finally, they were martyred for their Christian faith and were buried in Jerusalem; but eventually, these remains ended up at the Cathedral in Cologne Germany, where there exists a burial shrine in their honor.

The Catholic Church has a tradition of praying a special blessing of homes on the Feast of Epiphany. Over time this came to include a tradition of blessing the home by writing with chalk: 20+C+M+B+24, over one’s front doorway. The 2024 refers to the current year and the letters “C,M,B,” have the double meaning of referring to the names of the Three Kings, as well as referring to the Latin phrase: Christus mansionem benedicat (“May Christ bless this house”). The four crosses interspersed between symbolize the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), going out to the four corners of the world (North, South, East and West), to bless the entire world. There is even a traditional prayer of blessing of chalk by the priest for such an occasion.

In fact, if you are interested in blessed chalk, and a prayer you can pray in your home for such an occasion, reach out to me, Fr. Kevin, and I would be happy to make that available to you. And you can either pray that today or anytime this week!


– Fr. Kevin

PS: On behalf of Fr. Jangill and myself, I want to give a special word of thanks to everyone for all the kind Christmas cards and gifts: the food and treats; the gift cards, the money, the kind words, the prayers and everything else. I apologize that we may not get around to thanking you all individually, so this will have to suffice. But sincerely thank you all for your overwhelming kindness and generosity! And many blessings to you all this Christmas season!