On 5 January a particular celebration took place in the Basilica, popularly called the “Baptism of the Lord”.
It is a rite that has its roots in the Christian East: in the first centuries, in fact, the day of the Epiphany was not commemorated the arrival of the Magi, but precisely the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan.
Saint Gregory of Nazianzen stated: «Christ is clothed with light, in the same way let us also clothe ourselves with light; Christ is baptized, we too go down to be able to go up together with him “.
The blessing of water, therefore, is a gesture that helps to fully understand the meaning and scope of the mystery of the Incarnation. Furthermore, in the liturgy, water is a symbol of purification, care, regeneration. For this reason the Cross is immersed in it and with it the assembly gathered in prayer is sprinkled.
At the end of the Holy Mass, then, the Sacred Grotto welcomed a sort of “itinerant living nativity scene”: various figures, accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and shawls, gave life to the representation of the arrival of the Magi before the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.