Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord bringing to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or Epiphany, which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the river to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget children of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.
In the Eastern Church, this feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, God appeared in three persons. The baptism of John was a sort of preparation for the Baptism of Christ. It moved men to sentiments of repentance and induced them to confess their sins. Christ did not need the baptism of John. Although, He appeared in the "substance of our flesh" and was recognized "outwardly like unto ourselves", He was absolutely sinless and impeccable. He conferred upon the water the power of the true Baptism which would remove all the sins of the world: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world".Many of the incidents which accompanied Christ's baptism are symbolical of what happens at our Baptism. At Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism, the Trinity takes its abode in our soul. At His baptism, Christ was proclaimed the "Beloved Son" of the Father; at our Baptism, we become the adopted sons and daughters of God. At Christ's baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. gExcerpted from Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas