The Baptism of the Lord
GOD MADE MANIFEST
An epiphany is a manifestation of God in visible form. Today’s scriptures are replete with references to ways that God was made manifest. Isaiah sees “the glory of the Lord … revealed” in the visible form of God renewing the covenant by bringing the Israelites home from exile. Psalm 104 presents God’s “manifold works,” singing: “When you send forth your spirit … you renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30). The reading from Titus takes up this theme of renewal as a manifestation of God. It mentions three “appearances” of God—in the person of Jesus, in glory in the fullness of time, and in our baptismal “renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Finally, God was made manifest in Jesus’ baptism when “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove and a voice came from heaven” (Luke 3:22).
BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE
What do all these epiphanies have to do with us? Titus assures us that the same Spirit of God who renews the universe, renewed the covenant, and descended upon Jesus has been “richly poured out on us” in “the bath of rebirth.” With Jesus, we have been baptized “with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Those of us who were baptized as infants may not remember our baptism; even less might we remember our experience of God made manifest in us that day. Yet every time our community prays the Eucharistic Prayer and shares in Holy Communion the Spirit descends upon us again, pouring out the divine life that renews and “fires” us. As we move into Ordinary Time we will hear how the Spirit propelled Jesus forth to proclaim the Good News. Through our sharing in the Holy Spirit in baptism and Eucharist we, too, are propelled forth to make Christ manifest in the world.
God is manifested in visible form today by the renewal and the “fire” of all the baptized.
Today’s Readings: Isaiah 40:1–5, 9–11; Psalm 104:1b–4, 24–25, 27–30; Titus 2:11–14; 3:4–7; Luke 3:15–16, 21–22
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