How often do we consider that we have been anointed by God? Well, we have. In our baptism we are anointed with the Holy Spirit and at our Confirmation, which is the completion of our baptism, we are once again sealed with the Holy Spirit. We are sent forth by the Spirit as Jesus himself was to be a light to all the nations. Peter speaks to the Church gathered at the home of Cornelius that they are anointed by the Spirit and sent forth to be a light to all the nations. “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-38)

Last Sunday we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord. That great solemnity of the Christmas season celebrated the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the Magi as a light to all the nations. This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord which can be understood as a second Epiphany for it reveals Jesus as the beloved Son of God.  When Jesus presents himself to John at the Jordan, John said to Jesus: “I need to be baptized by you, yet you are coming to me?” (Matt. 3:13-17) John’s words reveal that the baptism which Jesus will provide through his suffering and death on the cross will provide what John’s baptism cannot provide; forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life. That promise can be heard in the prophetic words from the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7: “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

This passage from Isaiah, Chapter 42, is the first of four Suffering Servant Songs in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Jesus responded to John’s request by saying that John should baptize him: “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” The Prophet Isaiah tells us that we will recognize God’s anointed one by how he illumines our hearts. The ancient Church referred to baptism as illumination. When we are illuminated, we have truth revealed to us. Therefore, we can understand the Baptism of the Lord as a second Epiphany.

When Jesus comes up out of the waters, the spirit descends upon Jesus as a dove “and a voice came from the heavens, saying this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) This divine revelation reveals the truth that Jesus is the anointed one of God; in Greek the translation is the Christ. This is the reason why the Baptism of the Lord was celebrated in the ancient Church as a second Epiphany.

The Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 29: 1-2,3-4,9-10 proclaims the divine glory of God in all creation. God’s mighty deeds are seen in God’s mighty works. 

This psalm continues the revelation that God has authority over all creation and God’s anointed one comes to bring forth a new creation through his suffering and death on the cross. It will be in the blood of the cross that the waters of baptism flow forth for us. We are baptized in the waters that flow from the blood of the cross. This is what John was alluding to when he said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you.” (Matt. 3:14) In the baptism — Jesus received by John at the Jordan — our own baptism is made possible. When Jesus steps out of those waters, he begins his journey to Calvary, and it is the events of Calvary that enable us to proclaim the mighty works of God through his beloved Son on the cross. For God’s creation is made new again in Jesus the Christ.