The Ancient tradition of the Latin Church, so often simpler and yet more profound than Byzantium, discerns a triple miracle on Epiphany Day: the Coming of the Magi; the Lord's Baptism; and the Wedding at Cana. The ancient Roman Calendar separated this trinity out onto January 6 (the Coming of the Magi); the Octave Day (the Lord's Baptism); and the Second Sunday after Epiphany (the Wedding at Cana). And you will still find this elegant arrangement in the Missal authorised by S Pius V and in the Book of Common Prayer. Another happy feature of this time in the ecclesiastical year was the celebration, on the First Sunday after Epiphany, of the Finding in the Temple.
Simple, classical, elegance is so often a temptation to those idle hands for whom, as Nanny told us, the Devil always finds work. In 1721 the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was extended to the Universal (Latin) Church and deposited on Epiphany 2, thus evicting the Wedding at Cana on to some lucky weekday. The Feast of the Name stayed there until Pius X removed it to the Second Sunday after Christmas. This spirit of cheerful frivolity with sacred things was riding even higher when the Age of Bugnini struck ... and so the Holy Name promptly disappeared altogether. Nowadays, the Second Sunday after Christmas is, in any case, in most countries of the Modern Roman Rite, Epiphany Day.
The temptation to keep the Name of Jesus somewhere near the Circumcision - when He received that Name - was an inevitable one (so the most recent revision of the New Missal provided an optional and very low-key commemoration on January 3 and Common Worship gave this title and theme to January 1). But the Christmas/Epiphany season is already complex enough. There is a liturgical instinct exemplified in the extraction of the cult of the Blessed Sacrament out of Maundy Thursday ... and of the Sacred Heart out of Good Friday ... to days when they could be placidly contemplated without confusing and interrupting the progressive movement of the Triduum. That instinct was a good one, and should have been applied also to the Christmas cycle. Few places had a more intense cult of the Holy Name than early Tudor England - thanks to the Lady Mother of the first Tudor and to her ecclesiastical household*. And few features of the old English Calendar, reproduced in the Prayer Book, are more ben trovato than the placing of the Holy Name after the Transfiguration, in August.
Leo XIII made Epiphany I the Feast of the Holy Family - influenced, perhaps, by the Gospel, traditional on that Sunday, of the Finding in the Temple. The idea is not a bad one but is probably unnecessary. After all, there is nothing to stop a homilist from using the Epiphany I Gospel for a Holy Family sermon. Bugnini, never short of a good idea, shifted the feast backwards to the Sunday after Christmas, where some Anglican lectionaries now visit the same themes. And, needless to say, something else ... the Lord's Baptism (a theme homeless and hungry after the abolition of the Epiphany Octave Day upon which his Baptism was the subject of the Gospel) ... has now found a probably temporary resting-place on this Sunday.
And the Three Year Lectionary (in which the Wedding at Cana gets a look-in but once every three years) now complicates any attempt to return to the simple old Roman yearly structure of celebrating in quiet succession the tria miracula of the Epiphany.
All this dodging around ... it's rather like incompetent and slightly drunk skaters on an ice-rink constantly colliding with each other.
What to do if sensitive consideration is ever given to an invisible and tactful mending operation in this area of the Traditional Rite? Restore the Octave and protect the ancient propers for the first two Sundays after Epiphany. What if the Three Year Lectionary is to be revised? Order the Wedding at Cana to be read permanently in all three cycles on Dominica II per annum. Back to basics is best.
*A few years ago I spent a happy couple of days in the Manuscript Room of the British Library going through a perfectly exquisite Holy Name Prayer Book from the Lady Margaret's Chapel.