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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. This is an incredibly significant event in the history of salvation. Jesus did not need to be baptized. He is God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: All the old covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: ‘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.’
Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to ‘fulfill all righteousness.’ Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying. The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his ‘beloved Son.’ In his passover, Christ opened to all the fountain of baptism. He had already spoken of his passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a ‘baptism’ with which he had to be baptized. The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life.
From then on, it is possible ‘to be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God.” In baptism, we become one with Jesus who is God. We become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. This gives us incredible dignity. All human persons inherit original sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve. In baptism, our original sin is forgiven, and we are granted access to eternal life with God in heaven. This is the greatest gift we ever could receive. It is fitting to give thanks and rejoice for this gift. Friends, as we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, let us give thanks for the many gifts we have received.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Jim Lowe, CC