Monday, January 8, 2024

Theophany: The Glory of God Made Manifest

The culmination of the Christmas Season is the Great Feast of the Theophany, known in the West as the "Baptism of the Lord."

The Byzantine tradition especially emphasizes that the events commemorated on this day involving Jesus's ritual immersion in the Jordan river at the hands of John the Baptist are a public "manifestation of God" ("Theophany") in a hitherto unprecedented way. Today the Holy Trinity—the One God who is an ineffable communion of persons, the God who is Absolute Love—begins to be revealed and glorified in Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, the Beloved Son of the Father anointed in the Spirit. The great mission of God’s self-giving love is proclaimed.

Here are the antiphons from Morning Prayer in the Roman Rite:

(1) The soldier baptizes his king, the servant his Lord, John his Savior; the waters of the Jordan tremble, a dove hovers as a sign of witness, and the voice of the Father is heard: This is my Son.

(2) Springs of water were made holy as Christ revealed his glory to the world. Draw water from the fountain of the Savior, for Christ our God has hallowed all creation.

(3) You burned away man’s guilt by fire and the Holy Spirit. We give praise to you, our God and Redeemer.