By Christina Hermoso
The long Christmas season in the country liturgically ends January 13 with the Roman Catholic Church’s observance of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by Saint John the Baptist, at a time when all those living in Jerusalem, Judea, and the whole region around Jordan were having themselves baptized.
At the Vatican, it has become customary for the Holy Father to hold mass and baptize babies in the Sistine Chapel, a tradition that was initiated by Saint John Paul II. Pope Francis will lead the mass and baptismal rites today.
The Church encourages the faithful “to remember the date of their own baptism when the spiritual gifts of faith, hope, and love as children of God partaking in His divine plan were bestowed upon them and the mission to spread the Word of God begun.”
Church officials said, “Jesus’ baptism celebrates His second manifestation as the Son of God (Epiphany), as well as the manifestation of the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit (Theophany). It reminds the faithful that all humanity is called to share in the life of God revealed in Christ through faith and baptism and of their rebirth as children of God in baptism.”
According to tradition, Jesus was baptized by His cousin, St. John the Baptist, in the Jordan River when Jesus was about 30-years-old. He began His public ministry thereafter.