Baptism and Presentation

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Today, January 8th, we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, and February 2, we celebrate the Presentation of our Lord.

Could you please tell me why these feast days are in this order: Baptism as an adult in the Jordan prior to Presenting baby Jesus in the Temple?


A: Both feasts have a very long history in those relative locations.

The Baptism has more to do with the Epiphany. As Christ was revealed to the magi, so he was revealed at his baptism, and then again at his first miracle, the wedding at Cana, which is heard every 3 years on the Sunday following the baptism. So the sequence of those three events has a more theological meaning than a chronological one.

February 2 is 40 days after Christmas (count them). So it appears on the calendar for the reason that Ascension and Pentecost fall when they do, 40 and 50 days after Easter.

The gospel account of the Presentation can be heard on the Fifth and Sixth Days of the Octave of Christmas, December 29 and 30. So if you go to Mass on those days, you’ll the accounts of the birth, presentation, epiphany and baptism in a more chronological order.