I had a realization this morning: this is our last Epiphany season together… (well, see correction below)
In the one-year lectionary that sustained the Western Church from the beginning of recorded Mass Lectionaries (the Comes of Murbach) up until Vatican II, the time after Epiphany was a season unto itself that focused on the revelation of Jesus as God to the world. This was done through some particular and pointed lections, especially those that emphasized miracles. There was the Baptism of Jesus, then the Wedding at Cana, then the healing of the Leper and the Centurion’s slave, then the walking on water, the miraculous feeding, etc.
With the Revised Common Lectionary, the season and comprehensive character of Epiphany goes bye-bye. Instead, we get the beginning of lectio continua that will be interrupted for Lent and Easter, then picked back up again after Pentecost. The last vestiges will be the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord which is retained as the first Sunday after Epiphany and then Transfiguration Sunday, the last before Lent. But that itself is weird—we already have a feast of the Transfiguration; it’s August 6th. In other words, the new RCL Transfiguration is an invented occasion that goes along with the character of the season they just abolished. Got that?
Anyway, say your farewells as the RCL becomes the official lectionary this upcoming Advent. (Correction–it begins in Advent preceding 2010.)