The Baptism of the Lord
The Story of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord:
The Baptism of the Lord has historically been associated with the celebration of Epiphany. Even today, the Eastern Christian feast of Theophany, celebrated on January 6 as a counterpart to the Western feast of Epiphany, focuses primarily on the Baptism of the Lord as the revelation of God to man.
After the Nativity of Christ (Christmas) was separated out from Epiphany, the Church in the West continued the process and dedicated a celebration to each of the major epiphanies (revelations) or theophanies (the revelation of God to man): the Birth of Christ at Christmas, which revealed Christ to Israel; the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, in the visit of the Wise Men at Epiphany; the Baptism of the Lord, which revealed the Trinity; and the miracle at the wedding at Cana, which revealed Christ's transformation of the world. (For more on the four theophanies, see the article on Christmas.)
Thus, the Baptism of the Lord began to be celebrated on the octave (eighth day) of Epiphany, with the miracle at Cana celebrated on the Sunday after that. In the current liturgical calendar, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Sunday after January 6, and, a week later, on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, we hear the Gospel of the Wedding at Cana.
Let's dig deeper!
The Baptism of the Lord
The celebration of Epiphany (the feast of Theophany),
and the Baptism of the Lord
Let’s look at each of these feasts words and what they mean.
The Epiphany: means a manifestation or appearance of a divine or superhuman being. Theophany: means a manifestation of a deity to a person or the revelation of God to man. (Orthodox Church celebrates the Theophany as the Epiphany)
Baptism: is the Christian rite of admission with the use of water, into Christianity.
The weeks of Christmas and important dates to remember
the 12 days of Christmas, the Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, the Wedding at Cana
The succession of the Christmas season:
Epiphany: is after Christmastide and this is when the Magi came to see the new King
Eight days later, the church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord which shows that Jesus submitted to God’s law as commanded, and this pleased God the father.
The Sunday after the church observes the Wedding at Cana.
So why does the church reflect on these interesting milestones? Because they are showing the epiphanies or the divine revelations of Jesus.
The epiphanies or the Divine Revelations
the Birth of Christ at Christmas, which revealed Christ to Israel
the revelation of Christ to the world, when the Wise Men come at Epiphany
the Baptism of the Lord, which revealed the Holy Trinity
the miracle at the wedding at Cana, which revealed Christ's transformation of the water to wine, this was Jesus’ first miracle... (John 2)…this was the prelude to many more miracles to come.
Jesus Was Baptized
Three of the gospels speak of Jesus’ baptism, Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-22. Luke 3: 21-22 21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven:
“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.”
Why Was Jesus Baptized?
Jesus had no original sin and has nothing for which he needs to repent. Why then does Jesus insist on being baptized? By choosing to be baptized, Jesus fulfills all that is needed being morally right (he was the example of what one should do), he prepared himself to be a flawless sacrifice for the world.
I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s baptism shows all three Persons of the Trinity: God the Son being baptized, God the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and God the Father speaking from the heavens. In this moment, God the Holy Spirit and God the Father’s voice from heaven confirm the divinity of Christ, and Jesus submits to his Father’s will. The Baptism of the Lord is amazing because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and confirms his identity as the Son of God.
Saint Paul describes baptism as the “first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:14).
Baptism or New Birth
Baptism serves as the first sacrament one receives when entering the Catholic Faith. It is a sacrament of initiation (which you can only receive one time), meaning once you received it, you officially enter into the body of Christ, the Catholic Church. (John 3:5-7)
The “new birth,” or baptism, cleanses one of their sins and initiates them into the body of Christ uniting them with the community of believers.
Romans 6:3-5 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection…
1 Peter 3:21 (NIV) 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Baptism does five things
Baptism forgives all sins committed before baptism: original, mortal, and venial sin.
Baptism makes the baptized a new being.
Baptism welcomes the baptized into the Church as member.
Baptism brings the baptized to share in the priesthood of Christ. (1 Peter 2:9)
Baptism leaves a spiritual mark of belonging to Christ on the soul of the baptized and there is no reason why one would be re-baptized if done through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Symbolism of Baptism
Baptismal Font: The earliest baptismal fonts were found in the catacombs of Rome, symbolizing being born again.
Baptismal Gown: is white to symbolize being cleansed and clothed with Christ.
Baptismal Water: symbolize that Jesus is living water.
Baptismal Candle: the lighting of the candle represents the flame of faith, which is to be kept burning throughout the life of the baptized. Additionally, the candle symbolizes the risen Christ, as he is the light of the world. The using of the Pascha Candle is to remind us of Christ’s Passion and Pentecost.
Baptismal Oils: The first oil is used to bless the child before the baptism is the Oil of the Catechumens and the second oil used is the Sacred Chrism, which is considered the most important of the holy oils. The Chrism is not only used during the sacrament of baptism, but also during confirmation, holy orders, and at the consecration of a church.
Why do Catholics baptize?
Because it is the first step to pursue eternal life into heaven and this will help one be in union with Christ. John chapter 3:5 (NLT) Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
Steps to pursue eternal life
Baptism (John 3)
The Eucharist (John 6)
Faith (Romans 10:9)
Doing the Father’s will (Matthew 25:31-46)
Why do children receive baptism?
One way the bible speaks of children receiving baptism are in the scriptures where Saint Paul compares baptism to circumcision in Colossians 2:11-12.
Households being baptized: There are many bible verses which speak of entire households being baptized into the church which included babies. One can read about this in I Corinthians chapter 1 and on August 3 with Saint Lydia. Baptism is a time for families to give their children to Christ, not only does the family stand with the newborn but the church family stands with the child and guides them in the faith.
Gracious God, in Jesus Christ, baptized by John in the Jordan, you came to share our life and deliver us from sin and death. As we are baptized with water pour out your Holy Spirit upon us to make us your beloved children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Yardenit Baptismal Site
Just like with the Baptism of the Lord, today many places have a rebirth with the new year....
Around the world church leaders bless the water & baptize parishioners.
Here in the USA we celebrate with a polar plunge or polar run!
Worshipers believe whoever recovers the cross will be freed from evil spirits.
Priest blessing the river in Charleston, SC
Aqua Vitae: aqua (“water”) and vītae (“of life”) = “water of life”.
(The alchemy aqua vitae symbol, is a three sided symbol...much like the trinity)
Aqua Vitae dates back to the Roman times. The term was used to describe baptismal waters and various distillates. The term was adopted throughout the land conquered by the ancient Romans until it eventually became the way to describe alcoholic beverages. It was translated into different languages, and the Irish (uisce beatha) and Gaelic (uisge beatha) translations gave us the modern word for whisky. Aqua Vitae is essentially therefore an antecedent of whisky…
Centuries ago, medieval alchemists distilled anything they could think of, including human blood(!!!), often distilling the ingredients several times. Wine was distilled into a stronger liquor, similar to brandy, often together with various herbs, roots and spices. Amazingly, they were looking for ways to increase life expectancy and to cure various illnesses along the way. Distilled spirits seemed like a good idea as they would give you a warming feeling and would often have an instant effect on both mind and body.
In the 13th century, a Florentine alchemist called Taddeo Alderotti (1215–1302) developed fractional distillation (a way to separate chemical compounds according to the heat at which they will vaporise), which was then mostly used for the distillation of fermented products such as wine. He published De Virtutibus Aquae Vitae, describing in detail the distillation of wine and production of Aqua Vitae, which he described as “the mother and mistress of all medicines”. He believed that a little Aqua Vitae every morning would keep you happy into your old age (he did live to 87!).
In 1494, Brother John Cor was noted to have received eight bolls of malt to make Aqua Vitae for King James IV at Lindores Abbey. In modern terms, eight bolls would be equivalent to a staggering 500kg of malt, enough to make 400 bottles of whisky. This is the first written evidence of distillation of scotch whisky. The spirit would have been infused with plants and herbs grown locally as well as with spices.
James IV was a smart man. He spoke many languages and was very knowledgeable in the art of medicine. He was interested in alchemy and founded a laboratory, which produced large quantities of Aqua Vitae. He also set up a medicinal organization, which later became the Royal College of Surgeons, and gave them an exclusive licence to produce Aqua Vitae. Aqua Vitae was then used as an anaesthetic and for other medical purposes.
Jumping Jolly Juice
This nice hot beverage helps on icy cold days to stay warm especially during polar plunges!!
12 oz hard cider
2 cups water
1 cup cranberry juice
4 oz whisky, brandy or spiced rum
4 oz light brown sugar
3 tea bags of chai tea
Add water to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the tea bags.
Allow to steep for 2 minutes and then remove the tea bags.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer over low to medium heat and serve hot.
Garnish with a lemon wheel studded with cloves, cinnamon sticks or star spice.
2 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoonfuls sugar
Pinch of salt
Juice of half an orange
Zest of an orange
Zest of a lemon
About 2 cups flour
Vegetable oil for frying
Walnuts pounded in the mortar or finely chopped
Beat the eggs and the egg yolks with the sugar.
Add the salt, zest of the orange and the lemon, the brandy, the baking soda stirred in the orange juice.
Add the flour in tablespoonfuls, until you have a dough that is not too stiff, so that you can roll it out easily.
Divide the dough in two balls, wrap them with shrink-wrap and put them in the fridge for two to three hours.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll out the dough in very thin sheets.
If the dough is a little sticky, don’t add more flour. Just sprinkle lightly the counter with flour.
Cut the dough in ribbons about 6 cm wide and 15 cm long.
Line the ribbons on one corner of the counter and cover them with a wet towel at all times, so that they don’t dry out.
Pour oil in a small pot or a deep frying pan and when it is hot (but not smoking) pick up a ribbon with a fork.
Dip it in the oil, rolling it around the fork.
Fry it until it is light golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the strips.
Fry two or three at a time, so that they don’t burn.
Lay them on absorbent paper. When all the dough strips are finished, prepare the syrup.
Put all the ingredients in a pot and boil them until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the diples in a serving dish, and drizzle the syrup over them.
Pour the syrup over the diples and sprinkle the walnuts and the powdered cinnamon over them.