Viewing these Propers in light of Epiphany, Christ still stands before us as the "Lord," and as the "King" while angels surround and adore Him. The Church rejoices at His revelation, at the love with which He calls the heathens into His kingdom (today's Gospel), and at the gifts He dispenses.
The healing of the leper in this Sunday's Gospel signifies a type of Baptism; the participation in the heavenly table refers to the Holy Eucharist. The fourth, fifth, and sixth Sundays after Epiphany have the same chants as the third.
Introit: Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus
The first phrase dominated by leaps of fourths and high register perhaps recalls the angels in the celestial regions. The composer was concerned, above all, to call our attention to the adoring angels at the beginning of the Holy Sacrifice. Here they are not so much a model for our own worship of God, as they are the source of our purest joy. For here the Father has adorers according to His own mind, who with their intelligence immerse themselves in God's splendor and tremble before His immensity; adorers, who, with their whole will acknowledge their utter dependence upon God. The Church (Sion) hears it and shouts for joy.
Here again, we find expressed the two thoughts adorate and laetata est Sion. Audivit shows some similarity to Judae: the former has its pressus on a, the latter on c. In the third phrase et is to be treated as an anacrusis, while the following syllable should receive a light secondary accent. After the solemn first phrase, an energetic rendition should mark the remaining two.
Gradual: Timebunt gentes
The entire picture of the feast of Epiphany again rises before our eyes. We behold the heathen and even the kings of the earth streaming to Jerusalem (the Church) to pay reverent homage to their divine King. The corpus of the Gradual, especially in its lower ranges, proceeds from the heart of the humble centurion of Capharnaum: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof."
Over gentes the annotated manuscripts give almost all the notes a broad form, for the calling of the gentile world to the way of salvation is the greatest event since the Epiphany. Thus the neglect of the lower notes likewise is avoided. Several modes have in common the caesura over terrae. We find it again in the verse over (videbi)-tur, as well as in the first part of the Gradual over tu-(am).
Gloriam, despite its low melodic line, is made effective in the midst of florid neums by its simplicity. Above tu-(am) it will most likely be necessary to breathe after the fourth 'e–g'. This also makes it easier to fully sustain the following eight notes.
At the beginning and at the end the verse recites on 'f'. Over Dominus let the singer accentuate the pressus after the clivis and bistropha, yet so that the following deeper notes 'a', 'g', 'f' are well heard. Over Sion the brilliant ascent ought to gain still more in warmth in repetition. Dominus and Sion have a similar cadence structure. It has been found that the melisma over in majestate sua forms the close of thirty Graduals.
Alleluia: Dominus regnavit exsultet terra
We have heard these words in the psalm-verse of the Introit. This repetition emphasizes the kingdom of the Lord. And King He is, according to St. Augustine (Tract. 51 in Joannem), not to impose burdens upon us, not to collect taxes, not to levy troops, fit them out and let them die in a battle, but to bring peace upon the earth and thus make all peoples happy. Even the most distant are to receive these blessings; rightly, therefore, may they be glad. Here also we hear another thought of Epiphany: the spread of Christianity.
Offertory: Dextera Domini
The Lord, as the Gospel we have just heard relates, stretched His hand over the leper, touched him, and said: "I will; be thou made clean," and straightway he was cleansed of his disease. Innumerable times has the right hand of the Lord healed the leprosy of sin, and still He continues to heal it; He lifts us up into the kingdom of grace and of light, awakens us to life, to the true life, so that the soul is forced to shout with joy at the workings of God's right hand and to proclaim the works of the Lord.
Communion: Mirabantur omnes
The real dominant of this piece is that of the eighth mode (c). Only with de does the melody gradually change over to the seventh mode. Our general astonishment finds expression in a broad, expansive line. Perhaps the tritone at the end may intimate what it means when God speaks. How marvelous that His "I will; be thou made clean," has shown itself again today!
Besides, how sublime was His teaching! He spoke as one who had power. The common folk treasured His every word. How wonderful was the consolation He poured into their heart.