The Baptism of the Lord
Last weekend we celebrated the
(meaning “a revelation”) and this weekend we will celebrate a
(“an appearance by God”): the Baptism of the Lord. Marking the end of the Christmas season for the Church, it is drawn from an event in Jesus’ adult life at the start of his public ministry – his Baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River as recorded in all four Gospels (
). If we think about it for a second, this should give rise to a question: since one of the effects of Baptism is to remove Original Sin as well as any personal sin we may have committed up to that time, why on earth did Jesus need to be baptized at all?
Not surprisingly, the reason of Jesus’ baptism was not so much for him as it was for us. Rising from the water following his immersion by John, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (John, who wrote later and from a different perspective, tends to more imply this), the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus. While already in full possession of the Holy Spirit as one of the other Persons of the Trinity, this visible manifestation indicates the point from which Jesus acted more explicitly in the power of the Spirit: casting out demons, curing the sick, raising the dead, preaching the Good News. Although we may receive it in different degrees, all of us through our own baptisms – sealed by our free acceptance of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation – are given the very same mission. The baptism of Jesus empowers us for mission in the world. And, just as the Spirit
upon Jesus at the Baptism and remained with him through his ministry, we receive this mission from above and not completely of our own initiative (after all, who would willingly – either spiritually or physically – offer to die to themselves and live for others
on their own?)
In submitting himself humbly to baptism, Christ provided the example for the rest of us. If even Jesus should be baptized, though he had no need of it, how much more should the rest of us be thankful for this sacrament, which frees us from the darkness of sin and initiates us into the Church: the beginning of our journey of faith? This sacrament points us towards union with God and those who have gone before us as our destination!
For more information about Baptism, check out the following:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
(39 min) -
Reborn - Session 1: A New Creation: The Mystery of Baptism
To understand the wonder of Baptism, we must go all the way back to creation itself and the unique, life-giving place of water and new life shown there. From there, we watch the story of Baptism in salvation history unfold, first in the nation of Israel and culminating in the work of Jesus and his Apostles. The stage is set for this very moment in time: the moment when each individual is baptized and brought into newness of life, fellowship with God, and the community of faith. This is the beginning of a new life ... and a new creation.
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Fr. Ed Blanchett
on Friday, January 10 at 3:00PM