Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world in the latter times from the Most Holy Virgin Mary for the salvation of the human race. Our Saviour came to the bank of the Jordan to John the Baptist and received the Baptism from him, being plunged into the waters of the Jordan, which initiated our atonement from the progenitive sin. During Baptism, the heavens, previously sealed by the Creator after the fall of Adam, were opened. The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and a Divine heavenly voice announced Its good will for salvation. The whole world was sanctified by the Divine Baptism, and joy filled all the powers of heaven and every earthly creature, who were gladdened having been awaiting their liberation from sinful deca
Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea in his “Homily on the Holy Theophany” wrote: “Although the festival of the Theophany, or the revelation of our Saviour, is past, the grace of the same yet abides with us through all. Let us therefore enjoy it with insatiable minds; for insatiate desire is a good thing in the case of what pertains to salvation – yea, it is a good thing.”
In the mystery of Baptism, the purification and consecration of the human race was being completed. Christ, having immersed Himself in the baptismal font, buries the sins of the whole world within it and leads us into heaven. He invites us to the gracious spring of the Holy Spirit; He beckons us to a chaste and righteous life, that we may renew ourselves and become heirs of eternal life with all the saints in the Kingdom of Heaven. Saint Gregory the Theologian writes: “It is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God — that putting off the old man, we might put on the New; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For I must undergo the beautiful conversion” (Oration 38, “On the Theophany”).
Since ancient times, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord has also been called the Day of Enlightenment, because God is Light and He came to enlighten those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death (Matt. 4:16). Also, this feast is called the Theophany, because at the Baptism of the Lord, the Divine Most Holy Trinity appeared: God the Father, Who proclaimed the Son from the heavens, as well as the Holy Spirit, Who descended onto the Son in the form of a dove.
The Holy Church, in celebrating the Baptism of the Lord, affirms our faith in the highest incomprehensible mystery of the Three Persons in the One Godhead, and calls on us to equally confess and glorify the Holy Trinity. With our unlimited gratitude to the Enlightener and the Purifier of our sinful nature, we are called to worthily embrace the gracious gifts of Baptism, which bestows upon us cleansing and salvation from sins, possible only by the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit. In order for us to be worthy of the constant communion and aid of the Holy Spirit, let us keep clean those precious, pure garments in which we were adorned at Holy Baptism, at which time was sung: For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
In the Mystery of Baptism, we become bearers of the name of Christ – Christians. We must bear this name with reverence and awe. Inasmuch as we have been granted the saving grace, far more will be demanded of us at the Terrible Judgment if we live in negligence with regards to the diligent preservation of the purity and sanctity of our Christian dignity.
On the day of the Baptism of the Lord, once again, I want to remind everyone who was baptised in the name of Christ that we are the bearers of this Holy and Divine Name, and that we will be judged according to the fruits of the gift of God given to us in Holy Baptism. The Apostle Paul warned Christians: You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonour God through breaking the law? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written (Rom. 2:23-24). Many people want to find the meaning of life and the joy of salvation in God, but, in observing us Christians, at times they do not see an example of evangelical life for them to pursue, be it personal or communal.
Brothers and sisters! Let us consider how exalted and demanding of responsibility our Christian vocation is; let us make our whole life worthy of the glory of God. Let us always remember the grace given to us, that we are called to eternal life, and let us use the grace of Baptism for our salvation and the salvation of every person who touches our life, wherefore may the Lord help us!