January 13, 2019
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
IS 40:1-5, 9-11 PS 104:1B-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30 TI 2:11-14; 3:4-7 LK 3:15-16, 21-22
Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River signified several things. First, it validated the work St John the Baptist had been doing up to that point – calling people to repentance in preparation for Jesus’ coming. Second, it was a clear, complete display of the Holy Trinity. When the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove, and God’s voice could be heard by all those present. Third, Jesus’ baptism pointed to His sacrifice on the cross, the first event of His public ministry, to be bookended on Good Friday. Fourth, the opening of the heavens symbolized how Jesus’ coming opened the way to salvation, closed since the fall of Adam.
And finally, Jesus’ baptism foreshadows our own baptisms. When we were baptized, we became grafted into His Mystical Body, the Church. We became sons and daughters of God. We died and rose with Christ. Christ’s baptism didn’t change Him in any way, shape, or form – but we were certainly changed by ours. His was a revelatory experience, while for us, it was a transformative one. God said at Jesus’ baptism: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” At our baptism, God said: “You are my beloved child”, and we have the hope that upon our death, upon the moment of our passing into the next world, we shall hear Him say: “With you I am well pleased.”
Our baptism set us upon the path of holiness, which all baptized persons are called to walk. We can have confidence in following Christ, who showed us the way to salvation from the moment He stepped out of the Jordan. It isn’t an easy path, but it is the only path.
Image via Wikimedia, Public Domain