Prayer for the Blessing of Homes

The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States, it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. Some communities have the custom of blessing homes while recalling the visit of the Magi. The household gathers at the manger scene.
When all have gathered, a suitable song may be sung. Families may use the full service or choose to offer the final prayer below. The leader makes the sign of the cross, and all reply, “Amen.”
Let us praise God, who fills our hearts and homes with peace. Blessed be God forever.

Let us praise God, who fills our hearts and homes with peace.  Blessed be God forever. 
R.  Blessed be God forever. 

In the following or similar words, the leader prepares those present for the blessing: 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us. It is Christ who enlightens our hearts and homes with his love. May all who enter this home find Christ’s light and love.

 

Psalm 72

  1. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. R.

Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth. R.

The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him. R.

For he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save. R.

Matthew 2:1-12

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy Gospel according to Matthew:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. 

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. 

 Or:

Luke 19:1-9

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Luke:

Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, 
for today I must stay at your house.” 

And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,  and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”

The intercessions are then said: 

Leader: The Son of God made his home among us. With thanks and praise let us call upon him. 
R. Stay with us, Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, with Mary and Joseph you formed the Holy Family: remain in our home, that we may know you as our guest and honor you as our Head. We pray: R.

Lord Jesus Christ, you had no place to lay your head, but in the spirit of poverty accepted the hospitality of your friends: grant that through our help the homeless may obtain proper housing. We pray: R.

Lord Jesus Christ, the three kings presented their gifts to you in praise and adoration: grant that those living in this house may use their talents and abilities to your greater glory. We pray: R.

 After the intercessions the leader invites all present to say the Lord’s Prayer.  The leader says the prayer of blessing with hands joined: 

Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it.  Fill them (us) with the light of Christ, that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

 The leader concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: 

May Christ Jesus dwell with us, keep us from all harm, and make us one in mind and heart, now and forever. Amen

It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song, for example, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” or “We Three Kings.”  

Marking of the Front Door with Chalk

Following many European traditions, the family may take chalk and gather inside the front door during the blessing of the home. A family member inscribes the following numbers and letters on the lintel of the door:
20+C+M+B+21

The number of the new year (2021) flanks the initials of the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. The letters C,M,B are also an abbreviation of the prayer: Christus mansionem benedicat which means “Christ bless this house.” The crosses remind us that throughout this year, those who cross this threshold will enjoy the blessings of Christ.