Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Year C.
Theme: Jesus’ baptism and the manifestation of divine presence
By: Fr. Cosmas Ukadike,C.M.
This feast mark’s the end of the Christmas season!
We are invited on this great Feast to live our lives in the “Theophany” of the God who is a Trinitarian communion of Perfect love. The Christian vocation, no matter what our state in life, is to reveal the Love of the Trinity to the entire human race in order to bring them to the Waters of Baptism into New Life in the new humanity of the Church which is Christ’s Body.
The “Baptism of the Lord” is also called the “Theophany”, the manifestation of God Himself.
This Feast marks the beginning of what is called the “public” ministry of Jesus.
As we celebrate today the feast of the baptism of Jesus, It is a good day to reflect on our own baptism and its significance for us.
In the actual sense, Jesus had no need of baptism, since baptism in itself is associated with the washing away of sins; both original and actual sins.( Gospel: Luke (3:15-16, 21-22).
Jesus as we know is the spotless lamb of God, who comes to take away our sins, but he decided to subject himself to a ritual meant for humans.
The “Theophany” has inspired extraordinary reflection in the Tradition. Here is an excerpt from an early homily:
“Therefore the Lord Jesus came to baptism, and willed to have his body washed with water. Perhaps some one will say: “He who is holy, why did he wish to be baptized?” Pay attention therefore! Christ is baptized, not that he may be sanctified in the waters, but that he himself may sanctify the waters, and by his own purification may purify those streams which he touches.
“For the consecration of Christ is the greater consecration of another element. For when the Saviour is washed, then already for our baptism all water is cleansed and the fount purified, that the grace of the laver may be administered to the peoples that come after. Christ therefore takes the lead in baptism, so that Christian peoples may follow after him with confidence.” (St. Maximus of Turin, 423 AD)
The Baptism of Jesus therefore, manifests the very life of the Holy Trinity to the whole world and opens the door, through Jesus Christ, into a “communion”, a participation in the life of the Trinity through Baptism into His Body, the Church. The waters of the Jordan are sanctified by the Son and now all water is sanctified.
Just as the Spirit hovered over the waters of the original creation, the Spirit hovers over the waters where the Son is immersed by John.
It is of great importance to note that, we are called to become a “manifestation”, an “epiphany” of God in a world stumbling along in the darkness of sin. That is what we celebrate today.
May our commitment to Christ draw us closer to him.
Have a fruitful week
Fr. Cosmas Ukadike,C.M.