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Christ is Baptized – Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Christ is Baptized

Second Reading, Office of Readings, Liturgy of the Hours
From a Sermon by St. Gregory of Nazianzus (St. Gregory Nazianzen), Bishop
Oratio 39 in Sancta Lumina, 14-16, 20; PG 36, 350-351, 354, 358-359

“Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light. Christ is baptized; let us also go down with him, and rise with him.

TintorettoBaptismOfChristGoogleArtProject2“John is baptizing when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptizer; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.

“The Baptist protests; Jesus insists. Then John says: I ought to be baptized by you. He is the lamp in the presence of the sun, the voice in the presence of the Word, the friend in the presence of the Bridegroom, the greatest of all born of woman in the presence of the firstborn of all creation, the one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of him who was adored in the womb, the forerunner and future forerunner in the presence of him who has already come and is to come again. I ought to be baptized by you: we should also add, and for you, for John is to be baptized in blood, washed clean like Peter, not only by the washing of his feet.

BaptismOfChristLeTintoretLeBaptemeDuChrist“Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens, like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as to an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God.

“Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not in its fullness – a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.”


Art: Baptism of Christ, Domenico Tintoretto (son of Jacopo; also known as Domenico Robusti), after 1588; The Baptism of Christ, Jacopo Tintoretto (born Jacopo Comin, father of Dominco; also known as Jacopo Robusti), circa 1580, both PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • jcsmitty

    Today’s reflection in “The Word Among Us” says the following: “First, when he was baptized by John, Jesus showed how deeply he wanted to be joined with all of us, sinners though we are. As St. Paul explained, Jesus became sin for us so that in him ‘we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5;21). THROUGH HIS BAPTISM, HE TOOK ON OUR SIN AND CARRIED IT WITH HIM UNTIL HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS.”

    Until I read this I’m not sure I really understood that Christ’s baptism by John was where Jesus ‘accepted’ our sin. If I’m understanding this correctly now, then instead of being cleansed of sin as we sinners are in baptism, Christ “dirtied” himself, so to speak, by taking on the sins in the Jordan as well as our sin.

    Can you explain this in a bit more depth? What supernatural effect DID happen when Christ was baptized by John?

  • marybernadette

    What an Amazing God! Today on this Great Feast Day of the Baptism of The Lord, I witnessed the Baptism of two children. What a blessing!

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