01 January 2008

The Theophany of the Lord

Today we conclude the Solemn Octave of Christmas with the celebration of the feast of the Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of the Theophany is intimately connected with the mystery of our Lord's birth. The Child who was born for us and the Son who was given to us is manifested before us to be the Son of the Most High. Christ begins his public life with his baptism by John in the Jordan River. At his baptism Christ is seen as the fulfillment of John's preaching: He is the Messiah and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Father and Holy Spirit are witnesses to Christ for he is the beloved Son of the Father and upon him the Spirit rests. Thus at the baptism of the Lord we have not only an epiphany or manifestation of Christ as God's Son, but also Theophany or manifestation of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The feast of the Theophany reminds us not only of the baptism of Christ, but also of our own baptism. St. Ephrem in his Hymn for Theophany says: "...our blessed Lord came to be baptized with sinners and because of his glory the heavens were opened. The One who purifies all creatures, desiring to cleanse them, went into the waters and sanctified them for our baptism." It is for this reason that we bless water on this day. Originally, the mystery of baptism was celebrated on this feast and the waters blessed were those of baptism.

Today we celebrate the manifestation or epiphany of the Trinity at the baptism of Christ as well as the manifestation of the glory of God in the person of the Lord come into the world, that is to say, the manifestation of Christ, the Word of God, among us. Let us then call to mind the grace of God who has appeared for the salvation of all, and thank him for the baptism through which we have been begotten in the Spirit and through which we have put on Christ and become children of the Father.

Prayer of the Day
Father, in the waters of the Jordan River, you revealed your beloved Son in both his oneness with you and his oneness with humanity. Through the power of your Spirit, draw us ever more fully into his divine life, which cleanses us and frees us from sin and death. We make our prayer through your Incarnate Word, Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Psalm of the Day


Suggested Readings

Ephesians 2: 1-10
Matthew 3: 1-17


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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