The Baptism of the Lord - January 12, 2020
Jan 10, 2020
Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Usually, I take this opportunity to address one of the most criticized truths of our faith, namely the proof of the existence of the Holy Trinity, their unity in nature as God and the difference of their persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is because in today’s scene we see all of them – the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity – present: The Son who is being baptized, the Father whose voice is heard from the heavens, and the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove.
However, notwithstanding the foundational importance of that truth for our faith, I am leaning today towards another aspect of the life of Jesus Christ that is highly displayed here: Jesus plays by the rules. Rather than taking the place of a privileged, because he is the source of life and the one that was announced by John, he could have claimed a special and profoundly different treatment. John the Baptist is even expecting it. His question is clear: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Playing by the rules, Jesus’ response is neat: “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” In other words, Jesus was saying to John, my time is not there yet, let us play by the rules.
Today’s scene in the Jordan is an invitation for us to look at things and events in our lives from God’s own side. Playing by the rules is an exemplification of the virtue of humility that characterizes the whole life of the Son of God. Saint Paul says, “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not take it as something to boast about. Rather, he humbled himself and took the rank of a servant, accepting death, and even the death on the cross.”
What then that means for us, “to play by the rules?” After, his baptism Jesus embarks on the journey of his open ministry. He takes time to prepare for it and undergoes trials. Humanly we would call it a time of purification. But did he need it? No, for the scriptures say, He became one like us in everything but sin. He shows us the way. He reminds us that the direct consequence of baptism is commitment to discipleship. He calls the twelve to join him on that journey. You and I also, are called to embark on a new journey of evangelization and discipleship. The Holy Spirit we received at our baptism should be unlocked and untied. Playing by the rules means therefore that we are to demonstrate the truth of what it means to be baptized in Spirit and fire. Our hearts are meant to always burn with the fire of the desire and commitment to proclaim with humility Jesus Christ and his kingdom.
As we reflect on the mysteries of God’s love for us; He who chose us to be partakers of his glory and co-workers in his vineyard, let us deepen our understanding of the meaning of baptism and the mission intrinsic to it. Let us continue also, with humility and dedication to the cause of the gospel, to pray for one another and for our parish family.