Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism of the Lord

John N. Lupia, III

Jesus is baptized in the Jordan river precisely because He is the Lord God Creator of heaven and earth. The Holy Spirit hovered over the water in creation expressed remarkably in Genesis since it is through the power of the Holy Spirit the Most Blessed Trinity gives life to creation.

The Holy Spirit is first described in Targums of Genesis 1:1 as a mighty wind sweeping over the water and then God spoke "Let there be light." But most translations say hovered over the water expressing the ease and facility the Creator has to create without struggling or growing weak. Therefore the mighty wind metaphor simply expresses God's Omnipotence and power like a cosmic dynamo of energy producing sub atomic change and creates light. Light itself travels at a rapid speed here in Genesis characterized as a mighty wind producing the cosmic spark of life.

When Jesus is baptized the Holy Spirit comes and God speaks "This is My Beloved Son" who is the Light of all creation.

Science reveals that all life on earth began with water and that all creatures found on earth, under the earth, and in the sea and sky arose from the ocean of pangea.

Jesus in the Jordan river brings this to a new cycle of life with the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, who is the source of life to every living creature throughout infinite creation. Jesus rises from the Jordan prefiguring His resurrection from His salvific and sacrificial death on the cross bringing life to the dead, and restoring creation infected by sin, the cosmic virus that corrupts the image of man and creation and impairs all things rendering everything lesser than it was intended at the beginning of the created order. But Jesus has the power to restore creation and renew it giving it an even greater capacity for good and for His glory.

God spoke to Moses and instructed him how the priest was to bathe purifying himself and then don the sacred white linen four-cornered garment in order to offer the sacrifice in Leviticus 16:2-28. Jesus is the eternal high priest who emerging from the ritual bath in the Jordan offer by St. John the Baptist dressed in his white linen four-cornered garment which is still preserved to this day in the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Consequently, the beginning of Christ's public ministry is celebrated as in Leviticus with the high priest purified and wearing his white linen four-cornered garment where Jesus offers himself as the eternal sacrifice to save us from sin and its deadly consequences.

We see His power over life raising the dead and cursing the barren fig tree, amply demonstrating His power to give life and to withdraw it. He heals the blind, lame and infirm showing His power to restore infected creation and to give it something more. The man lame for 38 years at Bethseda waiting for the water to be stirred by an angel was the golden opportunity God offered the infirm to be healed. Alacrity was the key for all the victors who won this curative gift reminiscent of St. Paul's runner in the arena who wins the crown. But this poor man suffered severe disadvantage being lame and unable to beat the competition. But Jesus in his compassion is the Living Water and His heart was stirred to cure the poor soul.

At Cana Jesus turned water into the finest wine exhibiting His creative omnipotence. Linking the water to baptism we are transformed into the Eucharistic Christ into His body and blood sharing His very life for He says I am the vine and you the branches. The water not only represents created matter but its inextricable link to God's uncreated matter of the Eternal Body of Christ of Glorified Matter. Consequently, the allusion to the miracle of water into wine is deepened by the keyword phrase in John "You have saved the best wine for last" since the Eucharistic bread at the Last Supper was according to Jewish custom the afikomen or heart of the matzah , which was always saved for last at the Pesach Seder and which Jesus consecrated as his body and blood.The Seder, as its name suggests is comprised of a sequence of steps to follow precisely. The extraction of the afikomen at the beginning of the meal from the center of the matzah is brought out at the twelfth sequence called in Hebrew tzafun, "hidden" because the afikomen was hidden under a napkin and kept out of sight not to be accidentally consumed prematurely becoming mixed up with the main meal. The afikomen was a very specially reserved delicate heart of the matzah considered sacred and pure. Since the afikomen was brought out at the end of the meal for the great Thanksgiving (eucharistia) its very Greek name signifies "I have arrived" or I" have come "a meaning quite befitting the Messiah who now miraculously transforms this ordinary bread into his own sacred body and blood so that we all may share in his divine life restoring humanity to its original plan God intended with Adam.

Water becomes a perfect symbol of the Holy Spirit and both uncreated grace and created grace because it is pure, clear and amplifies light and has the power to produce a prism revealing three in one. The notion of water symbolized this way is ancient and biblical. In Psalm 143 "to you I stretch out my hands. Like a parched Land my soul thirsts for you." Our very life is dependent of this life-giving water, this saving grace, this nourishment and refreshment to sustain not only our physical life of the body, but moreover, the spiritual life of every human being.

The idea of God being the Living Water is clear in the narrative of the Samaritan woman at the well who asked Jesus for the water he told her about which after drinking she'd never thirst again.The biblical foundation is crystal clear in Ezekiel 47:1-9,12 where a stream of water flows from the sanctuary of God filling the earth and giving abundant life. This is a beautiful description of the Living Water flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus as St. John tells us at the crucifixion a Roman soldier thrust his lance into the left side of Jesus and out gushed blood and water. It is this Living Water into which we are baptized since the consecrated water of the baptismal font is inextricably linked to Christ who places His irrevocable seal on our very spirit.