I cannot restrain my joy; my heart is deeply moved and filled with delight. Forgetting my weakness, I long to undertake the mission of the great John the Baptist; though I am not the Forerunner, I have indeed come from the desert!
Christ receives the sacrament of enlightenment, or rather He enlightens us with His brilliance. He is baptized; let us go down into the water with Him so that we may also come up with Him. John is baptizing, and Jesus comes to him. Christ certainly sanctifies the man who now baptizes Him, but his purpose is chiefly to bury the old Adam in the waters and, above all, to sanctify the waters of the Jordan by His baptism in them so that just as He was spirit and flesh, those who would later be baptized might be sanctified by the power of the Sprit and by water.
John refuses: Jesus insists. "It is you that should be baptizing me!" says John. The torch addresses the Sun, the voice speaks to the Word, Jesus comes out of the water, drawing the world with Him, as it were, and raising it up when it had hitherto been sunk in the abyss. He sees the heaves not being rent, but opening of their own accord.
The first Adam had of old closed heaven to himself and us, just as he had seen the earthly paradise being closed to him, with a fiery sword barring access. The Holy Spriti bears witness. Here all is in perfect harmony, for the the testimony comes from heaven, just as He to whom the Sprit bears witness has come from heaven.
- from a homily by St Gregory the Theologian
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.