|Epiphany by Janet McKenzie - Bridge Building Icons|
We don't know much about the Magi in Matthew's gospel but we know that following them to the Christ Child is a long line of wise women and men who seek the One who saves us.
The interpretation of Epiphany (above) portrays women from around the world gathered with their sister, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Janet McKenzie's painting has been praised for its "powerful, protective and tender manifestation of a mother and child, embraced and nurtured by a loving community... a global inclusiveness proclaiming again and anew: Christ for all people. God's favor extends to all!" And that, of course, is the message of Epiphany...
I've taken delight for many years in sharing this poem at Mass on Epiphany and I'm pleased to do so again as we celebrate this feast...
The Queens Came Late
The Queens came late, but the Queens were there
With gifts in their hands and crowns in their hair.
They'd come, these three, like the Kings, from far,
Following, yes, that guiding star.
They'd left their ladles, linens, looms,
Their children playing in nursery rooms,
And told their sitters:
"Take charge! For this
Is a marvelous sight we must not miss!"
The Queens came late, but not too late
To see the animals small and great,
Feathered and furred, domestic and wild,
Gathered to gaze at a mother and child.
And rather than frankincense and myrrh
And gold for the babe, they brought for her
Who held him, a homespun gown of blue,
And chicken soup--with noodles, too-
And a lingering, lasting, cradle-song.
The Queens came late and stayed not long,
For their thoughts already were straining far-
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And a child aglow as a morning sun-
Toward home and children and chores undone.
-Norma Farber in When It Snowed That Night
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