Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The Epiphany of the Lord
Mathew cites the Wise Men as the first to recognize and worship the child Jesus as the King of the Jews, the Messiah. They received this knowledge about Him through observing the bright start of the East. "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy....they saw the young Child with Mary His mother and fell down and worshiped Him....they present gifts to Him, gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Mt 2:10 -11) This is the first revelation of the Good News to the Gentiles.
The Baptism of the Lord
Just as the Feast of the Epiphany is a revelation of God, so too is the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus is publicly proclaimed as the Son of God by His Father and anointed as the Messiah by the Holy Spirit. This is the first manifestation of the Holy Trinity to the world and the beginning of Christ's public life. Jesus' baptism reveals God's glory and His love for mankind. Jesus is the eternal Son of God and does not need purification, but humanity does. Jesus is baptized for the salvation and sanctification of all humanity. As St. Gregory of Nyssa said: "Jesus enters the filthy waters of the world, and when He comes out, brings up (purifies) the entire world with Him."