Peace and grace to you!
This weekend we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord in which God reveals Jesus as the beloved Son. This event always calls us to reflect first upon John’s baptism of repentance (turning-to-God) and why Jesus was baptized by John. Even John questioned it. Jesus expressed his desire to fulfill righteousness, which means to fulfill God’s plan — to do God’s will. Jesus entered creation and was born a man so that human beings could share divine life with God.
Today upon his baptism, we see something new: Jesus is anointed with the Holy Spirit! In this event, Jesus makes the waters of baptism holy so that those who experience Christian baptism are reborn, cleansed from sin and re-created as children of God, united to God as members of Christ’s own body and sharing in the life of the Holy Spirit. As Christians we are enabled to live and love as God’s beloved sons and daughters and we are empowered to carry on the saving mission of Jesus in the world. We are called and sent to work for justice and peace and share the Gospel message so that other people may be free from error, darkness and sin. For many of us who were baptized as infants, we have never fully understood or embraced the radical character of our baptism. That is why Feasts like today’s and the renewal of our baptismal promises are so important. They help us to understand more fully what baptism really means. Such occasions also help us recommit ourselves to living more deeply the covenant of love as Jesus Christ taught us. The baptism of Jesus was the starting point of his public ministry when he taught the people about God and the moral life. He worked many miracles of healing to show God’s power comes as love and mercy for the person who desires salvation. This was Jesus’ mission and ours too. Jesus still works miracles through those who do good works in his name. I hope that many of us have a sense of renewal and a spring in our step knowing that we share in such a beautiful and important work. May God bless all your efforts! +++ Fr. Peter