Today the Church celebrates the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Precursor, John. Liturgically, this is the final day of the Christmas season. In the East the feast is known as Theophany. This awesome and mysterious event in the life of Christ shows forth the divine manifestation of the sacred Trinity.
As recorded by the Evangelist Mark:
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:9-11)
God chose to provide this clear and convincing showing to those who witnessed it. There likely would have been a crowd gathered for the baptisms John was performing. What a privilege it was to witness the manifestation of the Trinity and the declaration of Jesus as the Son of God! Here is the Messiah, the Son of God, here is the Father’s voice – the only occasion in the New Testament when we hear Him speak. Here is the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
Why is it that this is the solitary occasion for the people to hear the Father? I believe it further underscores the authority of the Son. That is, the Father spoke today to declare the Son’s authority and oneness with Him and the Holy Spirit. For the remainder of the time the Son would spend on earth He alone, would speak for the Father. His words would be the Father’s words.
Thank you, life-giving Trinity – for deeming us worthy to see your resplendent glory this day; the very manifestation of your mystery and your divinity, and your unity!