Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord! This marks the beginning of his public ministry, and it also marks the end of the Christmas Season and the start of Ordinary time. You might notice that next week there will be a change of scenery here in the church.
Traditionally, this feast was celebrated together with the feast of the three kings under the title of Epiphany. Since the word “epiphany” means “manifestation/revelation”, it was appropriate that both celebrations would be together with the miracle of the wedding of Cana. The coming of the Three Kings marks the first revelation of the birth of Our Savior to the world. At first, only the shepherds and the people around Bethle- hem knew, therefore the Hebrews, knew about the birth of Christ. The Wise Men, coming from Orient, are the first “outsiders” and they bring to the knowledge of Christ as God to the whole world. After the birth of Christ and the flight to Egypt, there is not much about his infancy other than when the child Jesus is found at the Temple. The second revelation of Jesus’ divinity is when Jesus is baptized at the Jordan. There He is declared to be the “Beloved Son of God.” That is the first manifestation of the adult Jesus and where the Gospels begin to narrate his life. The third “initial” manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah is at the Wedding at Cana. Although the baptism of the Lord was among the people, only a few saw it and heard about it. It is only in Cana that He begins His public ministry per se. At the end of the account in the Gospel of John it is written, “This was the first of Jesus’ signs [miracles]: it was at Cana in Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” (Jn 2:11) Therefore, it is proper that the Celebration of the Baptism of the Lord should follow the feast of the Wise Men (Epiphany). Both of these feasts complement each other and it expands the mysteries of the Christmas Season.
I hope that this time will help us to be consoled by the Lord who does not abandon us. Quite the opposite. Indeed, He comes to our aid! Whatever difficulty we may face, whether due to the virus or something else, Jesus is with us!!! NO ONE IS ALONE!!! He has come to give us that which we long the most, ETERNAL LIFE! And we can receive this eternal life through the graces we received at our own baptism. Baptism is the most important sacrament we can receive. By it we receive divine nature, we are made children of God, our sins are forgiven, and eternal life becomes a real possibility for us. We become the beloved sons and daughters of God.
God Bless, Fr. Steven
Father Steven Clemence