Trivia, History, Legend and Music - for Epiphany

The Magi by He Qi

I sometimes begin my Epiphany homily (this year celebrated on January 4) with a quiz on the day's gospel which the assembly will have just heard proclaimed from Matthew.  

The Annual Epiphany Trivia Quiz

See how you do on the quiz.  Don't peek at the answers (below) until you've answered all the questions!

1) How many wise men are mentioned in today's gospel?

2) How many kings are mentioned in today's gospel?

3) How many magi are mentioned in today's gospel?

4) What are magi?

5) How do you spell the third gift presented to the Christ child?  
                  (gold, frankincense and m _ _ _ _ )

6) Why do we imagine there were "three kings"?


1) Matthew makes no reference to wise men in this gospel passage.
2) Two: Jesus and Herod
3) Matthew does not say how many magi followed the star.
4) Magi were likely Persian Zoroastrian priests who practiced the occult.
5) M y r r h
6) Because that's what the song, We Three Kings, not the scriptures, tells us. In addition, the number and value of the gifts presented (gold, frankincense and myrrh) may suggest three gift bearers of royal wealth.

But What About That Song?

Listen (on the widget below) to the carol, We Three KingsUnfortunately, in many parishes only one or two verses will be sung.  The five verses tell a story and it's very much worth singing the complete hymn.  If you listen to the whole song (and study the lyrics below) you'll see that the gifts presented by the magi offer a vision of the whole life of Christ.

We Three Kings by The Irish Tenors on Grooveshark

1) We three kings of Orient are 
Bearing gifts we traverse afar. 
Field and fountain, moor and mountain, 
Following yonder star. 

O star of wonder, star of night, 
Star with royal beauty bright, 
Westward leading, still proceeding, 
Guide us to thy perfect Light. 
2) Born a king on Bethlehem's plain, 
Gold I bring to crown Him again, 
King forever, ceasing never 
Over us all to reign.

3) Frankincense to offer have I. 
Incense owns a Deity nigh. 
Prayer and praising men are raising, 
Worship Him, God on high.

4) Myrrh is mine: it's bitter perfume 
Breaths a life of gathering gloom. 
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, 
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

5) Glorious now behold Him arise, 
King and God and Sacrifice. 
Alleluia, alleluia! 
Sounds through the earth and skies.
And finally, WORD for the Weekend...
It's time to take a look at the scriptures for Mass this weekend when we'll celebrate the Epiphany.  You'll find the readings and some helpful commentary on them hereBringing children to Mass with you?  Here are some hints for helping children prepare to hear the Lord's Word.

Epiphany 2012
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