THE CHRISTIAN YEAR – THE SEASON AFTER EPIPHANY

We are now in the Season after Epiphany, a season of “ordinary time” that lasts until Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  “Ordinary time” means that the season has no overall focus or theme, unlike Advent or Christmas.  The season is of variable length, depending on the date of Ash Wednesday — which in turn depends on whether Easter is “early” or “late”.  This year, there are 6 Sundays in the season after Epiphany — more than in some years, and fewer than in others.

The first and last Sundays of this season, however, are special Sundays, which continue the theme of “epiphany” or manifestation — in both cases, the manifestation of Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God.  The First Sunday after Epiphany (today) commemorates Jesus’ baptism, at which God’s voice from heaven identified Jesus as “my Son, whom I love” (Mark 1.11).  The Last Sunday after Epiphany (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday) commemorates Jesus’ transfiguration, at which God also spoke from heaven, referring to Jesus again as “my Son, whom I love” (Mark 9.7).

The symbolic color for the first and last Sundays after Epiphany is white, signifying joy and celebration.  The symbolic color for the rest of the season is green, the color for ordinary time.