We take for granted one of the simplest and most essential things in life - water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water. This element has been named by some scientists as one of the basic building blocks of life. So, It is fitting that water plays an important role in our faith. Especially in this important feast: the Feast of the Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, also known as the Baptism of the Lord in the West.
The word Theophany refers to a visible sign that manifests God's presence to human beings. It is God making Himself truly known. In the Feast of the Theophany, we encounter a loving God who makes himself known to a world full of hurt and darkness. He brakes through the darkness with the light of truth and love. For the first time in human history, God reveals Himself as the Trinity. The people present at the Baptism of the Lord heard the Father's voice, they saw the Incarnate Son of God, and the Holy Spirit descend upon him in the form of a dove. They experienced the presence of the Almighty.
In that water, at that precise moment, all of creation witnessed the grandeur of God revealing Himself. From that moment, nothing remains the same. All of creation, especially human beings, is renewed. By His presence in the water, the incarnate Son of God cleanses and purifies the waters of the earth, the building block of life, and thus, purifies all of creation making it new. Water, once a symbol of drowning and death, now becomes the vehicle of new life in Christ and the promise of resurrection. It serves as a reminder that we, along with all the rest of creation, were made to be filled with God's presence - and God's presence effects true change. Where God is made truly known, renewal takes place.
In our own baptism, we have encountered God's presence, we have been renewed, and we have received new life through Christ. We were changed and are called to change things around us by being instruments of Christ's presence in the world. This blessed feast of the Theophany calls us to make God known in the world. It impels us to let the Light of Christ shine in the darkness of our own lives and to shine forth that light in the lives of those we encounter daily. We are challenged to move beyond our comfort zones and into the light of grace, where we will be strengthened to share the good news through our actions and our words. We know God and we make Him known.
Our world is in serious need of renewal and in serious need of knowing God. The Church, God's people, exist to address that need. This celebration of the Theophany is not just as a passive remembrance of the baptism of our Lord, but a renewal in our baptismal call to become a theophany: a visible sign of God's loving and renewing presence in the world.
Written by Luis J. Nieves, parishioner.