The Luminous Mysteries – Part Two

Carnazzo, Rev. Hezekias



And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

            Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.  They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”  John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”  This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (Jn. 1:19-28)

The Catholic Church has always insisted that the Holy Scriptures must be interpreted “Christocentrically, that is to say, all Scripture must be interpreted in light of Jesus as the Christ.”[1]  This foundation, the focus upon the person of Christ, does not in any way diminish the importance of a fully developed contextual interpretation.  In fact, it is the context which often leads to the proper interpretation of the words and actions of Christ.  Saint Ambrose teaches his disciples, “Why? Do you suppose that any of these details were set down without a good reason? Of course not!  If no leaf can fall from a tree without cause and not a single sparrow fall to the ground without the heavenly Father’s knowledge, am I to think that a superfluous word could fall from the lips of the holy Evangelist—especially in recording the sacred history of the Word?  I think not.  All his words, if only they have a diligent reader (one who know[s] how to suck honey out of the rock and oil out of the hardest stone), contain supernal mysteries and are full of heavenly sweetness.”[2]  The importance of contextual interpretation and attention to detail is key to the proper understanding of the Baptism of Christ, and there is no man “born of woman” (Mt. 11:11) who is more important to a proper immediate contextual understanding of Christ than John the Baptist.  Scott Hahn teaches, “John the Baptist is indispensable to the New Covenant. . . . He is the one who testifies to Christ in the fullest possible way.”[3] 

Thus, for the full understanding of the person of Jesus in this Mystery of His baptism, we must begin with an examination of John the Baptist.  Who is John the Baptist and what is his mission?  The first key to the answer is found in the query of the Jews: “Why are you baptizing?” (Jn. 1:25).  Hahn teaches that the Pharisees “recognize that baptism is the sign that would immediately precede the New Covenant. . . . They know that the forerunner to the Messiah is going to inaugurate the New Covenant by baptism.” [4]  As noted in chapter one, a key part of the hope of the Jewish people during post-exilic times was that God would come to institute the prophetic washing, to cleanse them from sin and re-introduce them into Paradise.[5]  In the Gospel of John (1:24), the Evangelist notes that the priests coming to question John the Baptist weresent by the “Pharisees,” a sect of Jews who had focused their efforts in preparation for the coming Messiah on ritual cleanness.[6]  By ritual purity the Pharisees hoped to hasten the coming of their Savior.  Thus, a man standing in the Jordan washing people in reparation would be, to this group of Jews, a sign of preparation for the coming Messiah.[7]

  In response to the question, “Who are you?,” John replies, without provocation, “I am not the Christ,” confirming the interpretation of this scene as primarily centered around the advent of the Messiah.  Next, the Jews ask John whether he is Elijah or the Prophet.  The “Prophet” sought by the Jews most likely refers to the promised one of Deuteronomy 18, where Moses prophesies that “God will raise up . . . a prophet like me” (Dt. 18:15).  It does not seem, however, that it is in the prophecy of Moses that we will find the person of the Baptist but rather in the image of Elijah.

The Gospel of Mathew records that John was dressed in “a garment of camel’s hair” with a “leather girdle around his waist” (Mt. 3:4).  In the first book of Kings, Elijah the prophet was said to be clothed in similar garments, and it was by these garments that he was identified.  “He wore a garment of haircloth, with a girdle of leather about his loins” (2 Kgs. 1:8). Though John’s water of repentance and the words “prepare the way of the Lord,” are clearly preparatory actions for the coming of the Messiah, this does not answer the question of why John was doing and saying these things under the image of Elijah.  We find the expectation of the return of Elijah present not only in the minds of the Pharisees at the sight of the Baptist, but also in the minds of the chosen Apostles after the Theophany of Tabor (Mk. 9:9-12).  This interest in Elijah as a sign of the coming of the Messianic age was inspired by the last words of the last prophet sent to Israel.[8]   The Prophet Malachi speaks the words of God, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal. 4:15).  This is the very Old Testament text used by the angel Gabriel to describe to the priest Zechariah the destiny of his son, John (Lk. 1:17).[9]

The question regarding Elijah can be pursued further: Why will Elijah come before the Messiah?  What is it about Elijah that makes him a perfect candidate to “prepare the way of the Lord?”  We learn from the prophet Nehemiah that the people of Israel who had returned from the Babylonian captivity found themselves in slavery in their own land: “Behold we are slaves this day; in the land that thou gavest to our fathers” (Neh. 9:36).[10]  This “slavery” of which Nehemiah speaks continued in the days of Jesus, the Jews finding themselves dominated by one foreign political ruler after another.  This political slavery was considered a sign of a much more fundamental bondage among the people, a slavery to sin.  This is what groups such as the Pharisees and the Essenes were attempting to rid the people of when they purified themselves according to rigorous standards.  Only by cleansing themselves from sin would the chosen people of God be freed from the political captivity in which they lived.

What is needed then if the Jews at the time of Christ found themselves as “slaves” in their own land?  What else but an Exodus!  N. T. Wright explains that “anyone collecting people in the Jordan wilderness was symbolically saying: this is a new Exodus.”[11]  Why is it then that the image of Elijah is chosen by God to lead this new Exodus?  Why not Moses?  What is different about the slavery of Israel at the time of Christ, versus the time of Moses?  The key is location.  The Jews at the time of Christ whom John the Baptist called out of Jerusalem, were enslaved by their own sins in the land of their fathers; the slaves at the time of the Mosaic Exodus were in Egypt.  This enslavement in the Holy Land was nothing new to the Jews; it was in this exact situation that Elijah found himself in his own day.  Preaching to King Ahaziah against the chosen people who had yoked themselves to Baal, Elijah, the holy man of God, re-enacts the Exodus, but this time out of Jerusalem, the land where the sinful people are dwelling (2 Kgs. 2:6-12).  Elijah crosses the Jordan, exiting the Holy Land in order to be taken into a spiritual Holy Land where God dwells.

Exodus is, however, only the first part necessary for the restoration of man to the Paradise of God.  As in the exodus of Elijah, the Spirit of God is needed to lead man into the heavenly kingdom where he may be called a son of God once more.  Saint Basil the Great teaches, “The image of death is fulfilled in the water, and the Spirit gives us the pledge of life . . . The water receives our body as a tomb, and so becomes the image of death, while the Spirit pours in the life-giving power, renewing in souls which were dead in sin the life they first possessed.”[12]  Origen teaches: “He [Elijah] was made more fit to be taken to heaven, after having been baptized in the Jordan.” [13]  A fitting image may be that of a ‘reverse baptism’ by which the man of God is called out of the Holy Land because of the sin that is found there and, cleansed by the waters of the Jordan, is taken by the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit into a spiritual paradise beyond that of the temple.[14]

Within the contextual background of Elijah’s own exodus out of the land of bondage, the image of John the Baptist as the new Elijah fits perfectly.  John stands in the Jordan River and calls the enslaved people to leave the land of sin (Jerusalem) and to repent of their sins, much like Elijah in his own day.  But in what does the Baptism practiced by John consist, and what does it accomplish?  The forerunner himself, John the Baptist, declares his baptism to be that of repentance, a preparation for the coming of the Messiah, the anointed King of the Kingdom of God (Lk. 3:3).  Saint Athanasius explains that repentance does not “recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is make them cease from sinning.”[15]  John is then instituting the first half of the Baptism of Christ, the Exodus.  The Baptist does not call the Jews to a new life, as Christ does, but rather calls them to die in the waters of the Jordan, that they may be resurrected by the life giving Spirit of God.  Thus Saint Ephrem the Syrian explains, “John whitened the stains of sins with ordinary water, so that bodies might be rendered suitable for the robe of the Spirit that is given through the Lord.”[16]


The life-giving Spirit, which was considered above in the waters of the creation account, now becomes the key figure for the scene of the Baptism of Christ.  In the Gospel of Matthew, when the Pharisees had come out to John the Baptist, John prophesies about Christ, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Mt.3:11).  The forerunner, once the first half of the exodus has been accomplished, looks to the east from whence the flaming chariot of salvation will come.[17]  It is this Holy Spirit for whom the eyes of John thirst; he knows that the Holy Spirit will come with the Christ.  John the Baptist had initiated the first part of baptism –the  death in the ancient waters of the Jordan; now a resurrection is needed.  As in the days of Elijah, who first crossed the Jordan, and was then taken into paradise by the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit, so now in the days of John the Baptist, the people who have been called to repentance await an escort into Paradise.[18]   It is this Escort, the One who will bring the “fire,” that John and his disciples look for on the banks of the Jordan (Mt. 3:11).  And what better escort than Joshua!  It was not Moses that escorted the people into the Land of Canaan but rather Joshua, his successor.  After the Exodus, led by John the Baptist, the entrance into the new Paradise could only be led by one man.[19]  It is Joshua, and Joshua alone,[20] that led the re-taking of the Promised Land from the enemies of God who had usurped the land.[21]  Now, however, the enemies of God are the faithless Jews.  Jesus, like Joshua of old, must lead the re-conquest of Eden.[22]


Let us peer through the eyes of the Eagle of Patmos and listen to the words of the forerunner; let us stand with those gathered on the banks of the Jordan and hear the words of God our Father:

When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened.[23]

And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.’[24]

… and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’[25]

Although the necessity of baptism for fallen Adam is clearly set forth in the Sacred Scriptures, why did Jesus subject Himself to the baptism of John, for, “being Himself the Bestower of light, Jesus needs not to be baptized”?[26]  The answer requires a two-fold consideration:  first, the baptism of Christ is understood within context of the conflict between the light and darkness of Genesis 1, as interpreted by John the Evangelist in his Prologue.[27]  The darkness at creation was driven out by the light, and was buried in the primordial waters, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians in the Red Sea.  At His baptism in the Jordan, God the Son finally meets his foe, the Devil, for the decisive battle.  This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, “In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Is. 27:1).  The Greek Church cries out in unison with the whole of Christendom: “Make ready, O river Jordan: for behold, Christ our God draws near to be baptized by John, that He may crush with His divinity the invisible heads of the dragons in thy waters.”[28]  Saint Cyril of Jerusalem teaches, “The dragon Behemoth, according to Job, was in the waters, and was taking the Jordan into his gullet.  But as the heads of the dragon had to be crushed, Jesus, having descended into the waters, chained fast the strong one, so that we might gain the power to tread on scorpions and serpents.”[29]  In the ancient baptismal rite, the catechumen approaching the baptismal font is plunged into the Jordan, where he meets his Savior who, like a new Moses, draws forth his child, clothing him once again in the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit which clothed Adam at creation.[30]

The second consideration regarding the baptism of Christ is the re-clothing of Adam in grace.[31]  Like the Spirit that hovered over the waters at creation, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Jordan at the Baptism of Christ inaugurates the new Creation.  Jacob of Serugh, a fifth century Syrian priest, teaches that Christ “came to Baptism, went down and placed in the baptismal water the Robe of Glory, to be there for Adam, who had lost it.”[32]  Once again the Greek Church proclaims, with the mouth of Christ our God, the mystery accomplished at the hand of John: “Come unto me this day,’ the Savior of all replied to the forerunner, ‘for I bring to pass a mystery.  Serve Me with trembling, yet draw not back in fear.  For I, by nature undefiled, stand now before thee in the waters of the Jordan and am baptized as man: for I make Adam new, who was shattered by sin.”[33]  Therefore, like Adam at Creation who was made in the “image and likeness” of God, a son of the Blessed One, so Christ, by taking on the form of man, came forth from the waters of the Jordan having re-clothed Adam in the image and likeness of the Father.  Adam once again is proclaimed heir of Eternal life, the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased.

The question of Christ’s baptism is answered.  First, Christ entered the Jordan to smote Satan who dwelt there, the ancient serpent “enclosed in the sea.”[34]  Second, Christ went down into the waters to find those lost in the sin of Adam, those who had died by the trick of the serpent and had been prepared by the Baptist. By putting on Adam and re-clothing him in the whirlwind, the Ruah Elohim, Christ has restored man to divinity.  Thus, Saint Basil explains that Christ was baptized in the Jordan so that man “might regain his original sonship.”[35]  “The Most High knew that Adam wanted to become a god, so He sent His Son who put him on in order to grant him his desire.”[36]

It was the common hope of the ancient Hebrew people that one day their God would wash them of the sin that exiled them from Eden, and prepare a way in which they would be escorted back into that garden whence their first parents were cast.  It was also believed that this restoration of the original state of Adam would be accomplished by a washing with water, a symbolic death and resurrection.  The Baptism of Christ must then be seen primarily as the beginning of the restoration of Adam to the Garden of Eden.  Saint Cyril of Jerusalem teaches his catechumens, “The paradise of God opens before you, the paradise that he planted in the east from which our first father was driven out because of his disobedience.”[37]  Jean Danielou explains, “The catechumen appears as freed by the new Adam from the dominion of Satan and reintroduced into Paradise.”[38]

Having put out our nets into the depths of the Jordan and sucked honey from the rock which is Christ, let us stand on the threshold of Paradise and breath deeply the sweet perfume of the Garden, meditating on the gift that is before our eyes.  Let us stand with John in the waters of the Jordan and see the flaming chariot of salvation approach from the desert.  Let us see the Holy Spirit once more clothe Adam, as with a robe. And let us hear our Father whisper the saving words into our ears, “Thou art my beloved son; with thee I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:22).

[1]Sebastian Carnazzo, “Foundations for the Papacy in Sacred Scripture,” NDGS Angelus,  fall (1999), 30.  See also CCC 124, 134, 139.

[2]St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Homilies in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, trans. Marie-Bernard Said (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1993), I.1.

[3]Scott Hahn, The Gospel of John: A Scott Hahn Bible Study (West Covina, Cal.: St. Joseph Communications, n.d.), audio tape series, tape 5 side B.

[4]Hahn, Gospel of John, tape 2.  C.f. Ez. 36, Is. 40.  By admitting that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “I am the voice of the one crying in the wilderness , ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said” (Jn. 1:23, Is. 40:3), while at the same time washing people for the remission of sins (Ez. 36:25) dressed in garments of camel’s hair (Mk. 1:4-6, Mal. 4:5, 2 Kgs. 1:8), John has united three of the greatest Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

[5]C.f. Ez. 36:25, Zech 13:1.

[6]The foundation for the Pharisaic focus upon “ritual purity” is in the book of Numbers where we read, “He who touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days; he shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day” (Num. 19:12).  It is interesting to note the connection between ritual purity and the Semitic concept of death through water.  With this background and pharisaic focus there is no doubt that the Pharisees’ perception of the actions of John would involve an understanding of a ritual death and cleansing from the defilement of sin.

[7]N.T. Wright, The New Testament and The People of God, 187-188; see also Jer. 4:14.

[8]Tim Gray, Mission of the Messiah (Steubenville, Oh.: Emmaus Road Publishing, 1999), 22.

[9]Though John rejects the Pharisees’ identification of him as Elijah in the Gospel of John, Jesus confirms this identification in the gospel of Matthew (11:14).  The apparent contradiction between the synoptic tradition and the Gospel of John on this point is easily resolved if the synoptic approach (Matt. 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13) is not understood in the absolute sense, but rather according to Luke’s text, which states, “he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk. 1:17).  With this understanding John’s denial of his identity as Elijah would be due to a possible misinterpretation of his person as the bodily return of the Elijah of old.

[10]“While many Jews had returned from Babylon by Jesus’ day, the exile had by no means ended.  Nehemiah, who was one of the leaders of the Jews who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, recognized that the remnant of Israel were in a paradoxical situation:  the exiles had returned, but the exilic condition of captivity continued.”  Tim Gray, 20.

[11]N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 160.

[12]St. Basil the Great, Treatise on the Holy Spirit, sect. 35- 36.

[13]Origen, Commentary on Saint John, VI.46, quoted in Jean Danielou, Bible and the Liturgy, 108.

[15]Athanasius, On the Incarnation, ed. a religious of C.S.M.V. (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002), 33.

[16]St. Ephrem the Syrian, Discourse on Our Lord, 55, quoted in Sebastian Brock, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, rev. ed. (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1992), 92.

[17]John the forerunner, standing in the Jordan like Elijah, would be exiting the Holy Land and crossing the Jordan in the direction of the east.

[18]Notice that John the Baptist speaks of the Holy Spirit and fire.  It is commonly thought that Elijah was taken into Paradise by the chariot but a careful reading of the text proves otherwise: “behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them [Elijah and Elisha].  And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kgs. 2:11).  The chariot thus acts as a guard, separating Elijah, who is clothed by the whirlwind of the Holy Spirit, from the rest of the peoples who are not yet purified by the death of baptism.  The “guard” of fire is reminiscent of the Cherubim and the flaming sword who is placed at the eastward gate of Eden after the fall (Gen. 3:24).  Paul Hinnebusch, O.P., has noticed a further aspect of the chariot of Elijah; that of Ezekiel’s and Daniel’s vision.  Hinnebusch notes that “In Ezekiel’s visions, Yahweh’s fiery throne is a chariot,” and “In Daniel, too, Yahweh’s throne has fiery wheels.  ‘His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire’ (Dan 7:9).” Hinnebusch, Jesus, the New Elijah, An Inspiring New Insight into the Person of Jesus (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Books, 1978), 24.

The whirlwind recalls the story of Job where “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind,” (Jb. 40:6) thus associating the whirlwind with the Divine.  The prophecy of Jeremiah clarifies the interpretation that the whirlwind is an image of the Divine by making explicit the connection between the whirlwind and the Spirit of God when he says, “At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, ‘A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, a wind too full for this comes for me.  Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.’  Behold, he comes up like clouds, his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles—woe to us, for we are ruined!  O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved” (Jer. 4:11-14).  Here an identification of the whirlwind of Elijah with the Holy Spirit is made explicit.  Though in the English translation the identification remains vague, the Hebrew text makes the identification undeniable.  The Hebrew word ruah in the prophesy of Jeremiah is here translated as “wind,” which is the same word used consistently throughout the Old Testament for the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2, 41:38; Ex. 31:3; Num. 11:29, 24:2; 1 Sam. 19:20; Prov. 1:23; Is. 61:1; etc.).  The modern Biblical scholar Paul Hinnebusch, O.P. confirms this interpretation when he states clearly that Elijah was “caught up to heaven by the Spirit of God.” (Hinnebusch, 23)  Considered in light of the words of John the Baptist, the new Elijah, “He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” it is fitting to understand these words as “whirlwind and flaming chariot,” since these are the images most relevant to a man who is “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk. 1:17).   There is no doubt that a man imitating Elijah would evoke similar ideas in the mind of the people of Jesus’ day when fire and Spirit were mentioned by him in the same breath (Matt. 3:11).   Thus, applying this interpretation to the baptism of Christ, we may envision the people of God awaiting the fiery Merkabah (Chariot) upon which God is seated as upon a throne and the Ruah Elohim, through whom, as in the days of Elijah, comes “our ascension into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Saint Basil the Great, Treatise on the Holy Spirit, 35, 36.

[19]It should be recalled that the Jews believed the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem to be the actual location of the Garden of Eden (see chapter one, sect. E).  Thus, when looking back upon  the conquest of the Promised Land by Joshua, the Jews at the time of Christ saw it as the retaking of the land of the Mystical Paradise.  It is with this background that the Jews in the time of Jesus flee to the Desert, to the Baptizer, that they may join with the people of the new Exodus and re-enter Paradise from which their first parents were cast.

[20]This interpretation is not meant as a rejection of the possibility of interpreting Jesus as fulfilling other Old Testament figures, but only that, according to the above interpretation of John instituting a new Exodus, Joshua is the most fitting type for Jesus to fulfill.  For a discussion of Jesus as the New Elisha, see Tim Gray, Mission of the Messiah, 24.  For a discussion of Jesus as the New Elijah, see Paul Hinnebusch, Jesus the New Elijah.

[21]Saint John Cassian explains, “For as an old tradition teaches, when the world was divided the children of Shem were allotted the very lands of the Canaanites into which the children of Israel were led, which afterward the posterity of Ham laid hold of by violence and force, through a wicked invasion.”  Ancient Christian Writers, The Works of the Fathers in Translation, ed. Walter J. Burghardt, John Dillon, Dennis McManus, no. 57, Saint John Cassian: The Conferences, Paulist Press, 1997), 202. Also ref. to Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises, 88-89.

[22] “Not without reason is He named Jesus, which is Greek for Joshua, which itself is Hebrew for ‘Yahweh saves.’  The new Joshua has come to lead Israel through the Jordan and to the new Promised Land” (Tim Gray, 25).  Also, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem explains: “Jesus, the son of Nave, in many ways offers us a figure (typos) of Christ.  It was from the time of the crossing of the Jordan that he began to exercise his command of the people: this is why Christ also, having first been baptized, began His public life.  The son of Nave established twelve (men) to divide the inheritance: Jesus sent twelve apostles into the whole world as heralds of the truth.  He who is the figure saved Rahab the courtesan because she believed; He who is the reality said: ‘The publicans and courtesans will go before you into the kingdom of God.’  The walls of Jericho fell at the mere sound of the trumpets at the time of the type; and because of the word of Jesus: ‘there shall not remain a stone upon a stone,’—the temple of Jerusalem is fallen before our eyes.” Jean Danielou, The Bible and the Liturgy, 101.

[23] Mt. 3:16.  The reason for the splicing of different Gospel accounts here is for the desired effect of uniting the vision of John the Baptist with the experience of those of the shore of the Jordan.  By uniting these viewpoints we get the personal vision of the forerunner while gaining the actual words of God the Father through the mouth of Matthew.

[24]Jn. 1:32.

[25]Mt. 3: 17.

[26]The Festal Menaion, trans. Mother Mary and Kallistos Ware (South Canaan, Penn.: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1998), 296.

[27] See chapter one, sect. A.

[28]The Festal Menaion, 295.

[29]Jean Danielou, The Bible and the Liturgy, 41.

[30] Although this exegesis of the baptism of Christ may seem to be an interpolation of patristic catechetical teaching read into the text of the New Testament with no actual literary indication of such a reality in the gospel text itself, it is an interpretation firmly grounded within a Jewish understanding of ritual cleansing.  Thus, there would be no need for the gospel writer to explain the meaning of the actions of Christ to an audience raised within a culture which understood the significance of such an act.

[31]The teaching that Adam lost his garment of grace when he sinned was essential to the Mystogogical Catechesis of the early Church regarding Baptism.  Before the fall, Adam was clothed in the garment of grace, which was lost upon his sin; realizing Adam was naked, God fashioned garments of animal skins for the couple, clothing them according to their fallen nature—no longer sons of God, but found in the likeness of animals.

[32]St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns On Paradise, 70.

[33]Festal Menaion, 391.

[34] Danielou, The Bible and the Liturgy, 75.

[35]Ibid., 46.

[36]St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns On Paradise, 73, 98, 99.

[37]Cyril of Jerusalem, Mystogogic Catecheses XXXIII, 1073 B. as quoted in Jean Danielou, The Bible and the Liturgy, 30.

[38]Ibid., 33.

You are donating to : Institute of Catholic Culture

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $25 $50
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note

We have made some recent changes to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more please review our Privacy Policy page.

Accept and Close