FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
(White) Cycle C, Year I (January 10, 2016)
Is 42:1-4, 6-7/Acts 10:34-38/Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and the voice from above was heard: “You are my Son; today I have fathered You” (Lk 3:22). In this baptism of Christ, it was not Jesus who benefitted much from it but rather the baptism of John the Baptist and the people who receive such baptism and the latter baptism of Christian Church. While Jesus needed not to be baptized since He was not tainted by any sin being God, the baptism of John needed the grace coming from Christ in order to make it capable of purifying those who received it. The later baptisms in the Christian Church particularly the Catholic Church have its institution in such baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. With the baptism of Christ, baptism was made a sacrament by Christ, making it the gateway to Christian life.
Just like the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River, when we received the sacrament of baptism, the Holy Spirit also descended on us and transformed us into children of God. The Holy Spirit that descended upon us during baptism was the same Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus on His baptism. It is the same Holy Spirit that dwells on each of us and in the Church; it is the Holy Spirit that sanctifies us and the Church.
The Holy Spirit descended the first time during creation in the beginning of time. When God the Father sent Him, He descended on the waters, thus beginning the creation and on Adam and Eve, thus ending the creation. The Holy Spirit is always at the beginning and in the end just like the God the Father who is eternal and God the Son who is the Alpha and the Omega. They are the three Persons in one God: the Holy Trinity.
The descent of the Holy Spirit reveals the creation event that follows. Last Christmas, God the Father sent the Son to save us from the state of sinfulness and make us children of God. Today, God sends the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to make us capable of fulfilling the teachings of the Son and of living the life of the Son of God. This means that God is recreating us, making us a new person from being the enemy of God to becoming the son or daughter of God and from living a sinful and selfish life to living the life of Jesus Christ.
The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our own baptism. It was during our baptism that God freed us from the yoke of Satan and made us members of the Church, temples of the Holy Spirit and children of God. It was our baptism that transformed us into new creations. Such transformation is being renewed each time we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus. For this reason, in this feast of the baptism of our Lord, we commit ourselves to living our identity and dignity as children of God. Today, God also says to each of us: You are my beloved son/daughter; today I have begotten you.