An interesting homily on the Epiphany by St. Proclus of Constantinople of the Eastern Church.
“Today’s feast of the Epiphany manifests even more wonders than the feast of Christmas…At Christmas the King puts on the royal robe of his body; at Epiphany the very source unfolds and, as it were, clothes the river.
On the feast of the Savior’s birth, the earth rejoiced because it bore the Lord in a manger; but on today’s feast the sea is glad because it receives the blessing of holiness in the river Jordan.”
When Jesus went into the water of the Jordan, he blessed not only that river, but the waters of the Nile, the rivers of Babylon, the seas far and wide.
The United States Geological Survey (many of its offices now closed in the government shutdown) has a wonderful site on water. Water is everywhere, not only in the seas and rivers, but in the air, the foods we eat, even our bodies.71% of the earth’s surface is water. 60% of our bodies is water. It’s a precious gift.
In the Sacrament of Baptism water’s a powerful sign that the Word of God, Jesus Christ, comes into creation to bring us life.
Usually around this time one of the local New York papers carries the story of the Greek Archbishop of New York throwing a cross into the Hudson River, which is then retrieved by some hardy Greek divers. ( I watched for it, but didn’t see it this year)
The bitter cold, hardly clean waters of the Hudson are blessed with the cross, the sign of Jesus Christ, and the sea itself and the whole world is blessed.
A rite of optimism. The waters of the Hudson are grim and cold this time of year, like the world itself, but they are clothed with Christ’s blessing, however they seem.