Can it be that the liturgical season of Christmas has passed? Indeed! The Christmas season officially ended in our Church this past Tuesday as we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. And so we find ourselves back to “Ordinary Time” for the next few months prior to the coming of the next liturgical season when on Wednesday, March 1st, Lent begins. Let us not move too quickly. Let us savor the sights and glorious songs of the birth of Christ in our hearts and let us give thanks for the incredible gift of Jesus!
This year the calendar did not afford us an informative homily from Fr. Tim on the Baptism of the Lord. And so I found myself wondering, and even having some conversations with others about this: We believe that Jesus is God, the Son of God, God Incarnate. And that prior to the onset of the ministry of Jesus, John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River in an effort to prepare the way for the Lord. But, if Jesus is God, then why would he need to be baptized? I mean, we are baptized so as to receive the Holy Spirit, but Jesus did not need that, for the Holy Spirit is God, and Jesus is one in the same God! We know the Scripture; Jesus went down into the water of the Jordan River where his cousin John the Baptist, in the presence of many, baptized him. “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him.” And a voice came from the heavens saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3.17
Again, why would Jesus who is God need baptism? We might in the same way ask the question, why would Jesus need to be here on this earth at all? Might it be that Jesus was born, God Incarnate, not for himself, but FOR US!? We are the ones who had a need; a need to be saved from the sin that was destroying us. We were the ones who needed the Holy Spirit. We needed God to be with us! The heavens opening and the voice of God at the baptism of Jesus was meant for us, humanity, to understand that indeed God was present, in the flesh! He sent his Son into this world in the form of a human being. Jesus was fully God AND Jesus was fully man; human. What incredible insight on the part of God for him to know how important it was to become part of humanity so that humanity could understand God’s relationship to them. The event of the baptism of Jesus provided to us the reality of who he was; that we might come to believe and know God fully.
So our baptism and the baptism of Jesus have much in common, but are not the same. We are baptized with the Holy Spirit so that the original sin we inherited is taken away that we might become members of the family of God. Jesus was baptized, not to take away any sin that he inherited, for he did not inherit original sin. Rather, Jesus was baptized so that we might understand and come to know how much God loves us and desires us to be with him. The baptism of Jesus Christ saved our lives and opened for all humanity a path to eternity with God! By his baptism, the heavens were opened to us! To be sure, this is our greatest gift!
With gratitude and awe,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC