My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
This Sunday we will be celebrating the second major holiday of this month. Less then two weeks ago we celebrated the Nativity of our Savior or the birth of our Lord. Upon celebrating His birth, we then lose sight of the God-Child as the Gospel writers totally overlook all details about His life except for one episode when the twelve year-old Jesus is forgotten by His parents and left alone in Jerusalem. The details on His life begin again when He turns thirty and by Moses' Law is of age to begin teaching. Due to the fact that by this time in history, the general spiritual level of humanity had degraded to such a low level that it would have been impossible for people to understand and accept the profound teachings of the Savior, a forerunner was needed to prepare them. Such a forerunner, St. John the Baptist, is sent by God for this mission. He is the greatest of all the prophets and the only prophet to see the Savior with his own eyes. St. John spends three months teaching and baptizing, leading to the moment when the Savior is to appear.
Before beginning His work, Jesus reveals to the world the essence of His Mission. It is founded on the greatest of spiritual virtues, humility. Despite being sinless, Jesus goes to where John is baptizing and asks for baptism. John is confused. His baptism is a baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and although he does not yet know who is standing before him, in his pure heart he senses Jesus' great spiritual superiority. He understands that this stranger is the one who should baptizing him instead of receiving baptism. But Jesus insists, and St. John submits. At the moment the baptism is completed and Jesus is getting out of the water, an incredible thing happens. The Heavens open up, a Dove descends over the head of Jesus, and a deep voice is heard from above witnessing to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. For the first time in history, God openly reveals His true nature. He is the one God in three Persons, God the Father (the voice), God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (the dove). St John only then realizes who Jesus is.
This is the momentous event that we will be witnessing on Sunday. And as a special blessing, there will be a major blessing of Holy Water which we are able to take home with us to drink from when we need or want to. This holiday also marks the time of the year when we are called to ask a priest to visit our home and bless it with the Holy Water of Theophany. Therefore, I encourage you to bring a clean empty bottle with you when you come to Church on Sunday to fill it with the Holy Water. After this, do contact a priest to schedule a house blessing. Since our sins pollute our home environment, we are able to purify our homes with this blessing.
In conclusion, I greet all of you and pray that you enjoy a most spiritually-satisfying celebration on this holy day.
With Love in Christ,
Archpriest Serge Kotar