The Feast of Dinha, Epiphany, is the season of the Catholic Church that follows Subara, Advent; this season is known as the Dawning of our Lord.
The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Jordan marks the beginning of the feast of Dinha. Why is the baptism the start of this liturgical season? The baptism of Jesus is the start of his earthly public ministry according to the Gospel. It is at this great “Dawning,” or “Epiphany,” that the Trinity is revealed.
In the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist proclaims of a coming of a man who is very great, saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (vv.11).” Then immediately following, we see a conversation between John the Baptist and Jesus, “’I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented (vv. 14-15).” The obedience of John the Baptist to his master catered to the greatest “dawning” of mankind. Precisely at this moment the Trinity was revealed, “And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased (vv. 16-17).” The revelation of the Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:
“The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’. The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men ‘and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.’” (234)
Therefore, the season Dinha of the Catholic Church is the most fundamental and essential in regards to our Christian Faith because it is here that the great “Dawn” is revealed. In our Chaldean Church, Dinha is understood as Christ saving the entire human race from their slavery to sin and bringing the promise of the Kingdom of God to a human reality. We find in the basilica hymns great mediations that point us to this theology. A basilica hymn reads:
“By your baptism, O Savior of all, you saved our race from death, promised us the kingdom, and life that does not cease, and through the light of your glorious dawning, you turned us to the knowledge of yourself: to you be glory in height and depth!”
“Glorious is your revelation, O Christ, in whose baptism has freed us from error, granted hope and renewal to the whole race of mortals, and made light dawn upon the exalted and the lowly together. To you be praise, O Christ our Savior!”
As Chaldean Catholics, by merit of our own baptism, we are all called to a life that transcends beyond the earthly dimension and moves us forward to the life with Christ. We have to recognize our own sinfulness and take advantage of the gifts God offers us. He constantly offers mankind his mercy and forgives us from our wrong doings. Confession is how we are freed from our error. During the season of Dinha, reflect on the importance of the refreshing waters of baptism and the revelation of the Trinity. By participating in such a vision, taking advantage of what the Church offers, and putting our trust in the Lord, we will be made more worthy to enter kingdom of Heaven.