2011, Baptism of the Lord
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Both feasts: the Nativity of Christ and the Baptism of the Lord express the descent of the Son of God to earth for the salvation of the human race.
Both feasts are as if in competition with one another in terms of their significance for our salvation.
Shepherds and the Magi, who brought gifts to Christ both as God and man, were witnesses to the Nativity of the Savior. This feast expresses the human aspect.
The feast of Theophany shows the Savior's Divine aspect, where God the Father testified to His Divinity: This is my beloved in Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3,17). Thus the feast of Christ's Baptism is also called Theophany, or Epiphany (Appearance).
The Lord commanded John, son of Zacharias, who was living in the desert, to preach repentance through baptism for the remission of sins
When the Savior turned thirty, John the Baptist came to him to be baptised: But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? (Matthew 3, 14). But the Lord declined his wish, saying: Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness (3, 15). What is this righteousness? Adam sinned and hid himself instead of repenting. When the Lord called him and exposed him, instead of repenting Adam made excuses. Thus the Lord starts from the baptism of repentance to wash away the sin of Adam. As it says in the Gospel: [He] went up straightway out of the water (Matthew 3, 16), because He was sinless.
The Lord began his ministry with the call to repentance, so as to enlighten: The people which sat in darkness [...]; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death (Matthew 4, 16). Therefore this feast is also called The Day of the Lights, as we sing in the Kontakion of the Feast: Thou hast appeared today unto the whole world, and Thy light, O Lord, hath been signed upon us who with knowledge chant unto Thee: Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared, O Light Unapproachable..
This is where our enlightenment/illumination begins: with the mystery of Baptism and in repentance. By his Baptism the Lord blessed water, which in the mystery of baptism takes on spiritual power to wash away sins.
We bless water in remembrance of the Lord's Baptism and sprinkle our homes and ourselves with this water to drive away demonic powers and attract Divine Grace in salvation. Amen.
 η Ημέρα των Φώτων