Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 22 June |
Saint of the Day: Sts John Fisher and Thomas More
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Today, “What child is this?” becomes “What man is this?”

John-CameliaTWU-CC

Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, OP - published on 01/08/18

On understanding today's feast as a Christmas mystery

While the Church celebrates our baptism as an Easter mystery, she celebrates the Lord’s baptism as a Christmas one.

The reason is easy to grasp. Whereas our baptism included a cleansing from sin, Christ’s baptism did not. He who did not know sin had no need of such cleansing. Accordingly, Christ’s baptism in the Jordan accomplished something different, something less to do less with Calvary and more to do with Bethlehem.

As when lying in the manger Christ was revealed as God and savior to the Magi, so when standing in the Jordan he was revealed as Messiah and Lord to Israel. The heavens opened, the Father spoke, and the Spirit appeared so that Christ himself would appear in what the Catechism calls a new “Epiphany” (par. 535).

Thus at his baptism the Lord turns to Jerusalem by recapitulating Bethlehem, where he first manifested his nature as light from light. Christ sets out for Jerusalem not by leaving Bethlehem behind but by drawing its mystery forward. The revelation of the child is now the revelation of the man, who sets out from home to fulfill his Father’s will.

Although the light of Bethlehem shines brightly at the Jordan, the shadows of Calvary are not completely dispersed by it. Light mixes with shadow to create the scene of today’s mystery, much as light mixed with shadow in Bethlehem before. As the myrrh given to the Christ child foreshadowed his death and burial, Christ’s descent into the waters prefigured the same, and with greater efficacy, for his presence in the waters made of them a sacramental representation of his tomb, into which all would be lowered in baptism, not to be left there but from which to be raised as fellow victors with Christ, inheritors of risen life. The Spirit’s anointing of Christ’s sacred humanity at the Jordan passes to us not only through these same waters, but also as the Catechism notes through the anointing of Confirmation (par. 1286). Christ aims the manifestation of his divinity in his adult flesh at rendering us mature witnesses of his person and work.

Today, the Christmas season closes with the commemoration of Christ’s epiphany at the Jordan. As we prayerfully consider this mystery, the question “What child is this?” becomes “What man is this?” Let us ask for the grace to answer confidently: “It is the Lord!” (cf. Jn 21:7).

Tags:
ChristmasSacraments
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SUMMER SHED
Zelda Caldwell
Catholic priest’s chapel is finalist in “Shed of the Year&#...
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
3
KSIĄDZ
Theresa Civantos Barber
5 Thoughtful ways to honor a priest this Father’s Day
4
SAINT PETER AND JESUS
Philip Kosloski
Who started the Catholic Church?
5
FATHER ANIMATION
Zoe Romanowsky
Animated film shows the power of fatherhood in just one minute
6
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
7
REFUGEES DURING THE HUNGNAM EVACUATION
Larry Peterson
Korean War hero advanced on path to sainthood
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.