THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
We, as fully human beings, are often at a complete loss for understanding God. He has given us the gift of faith because we are incapable of fully understanding. God sent His only begotten Son to not only redeem us but to become one with us. In the Baptism of Christ in today’s Gospel of Luke, Jesus goes out of His way to impress on us that we and He are one. He comes in a fully human way and is symbolically cleansed to help us realize He is one with us and to show us what He wants for us.
This past Christmas Eve we had an additional gift along with the beauty of the mass celebrating the Birth of Christ. We also took part as Church family in the baptism of three youngster who are children and grandchildren of parishioners. With their Baptism they became one with Christ and the Christian community. It was truly a night of great joy on many levels. The overriding facets of their baptism was the washing away of original sin and the complete opening of a relationship with Jesus. The meaning of Baptism as a sacrament cannot be understated in relation to our communion with Jesus and the family of Christians.
St. Paul in today’s 2nd reading says, “He saved us through the bath of re-birth and renewed by the Holy Spirit” whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus our Savior. The baptism references are profound. But as much as Jesus in His Baptism comes to join us in a human way, we too are not only invited but spiritually conjoined to Him with the gift of Sanctifying Grace. When the priest or deacon prepares the altar at mass for the reception and ultimate consecration of the bread and wine, he says as he prepares the cups of wine with the addition of water, “By the mystery of this water and wine, we have come to share in the Divinity of Christ as He has come to share in our humanity”. We of course will never become fully Divine, but by accepting the body and blood of Jesus in communion we are being blessed with an essence of Divinity. What makes our faith the one true faith is that from Baptism through our ultimate final Sacrament of the Sick and Funeral Mass we are one in Christ throughout our lives. As you will note in all Catholic funeral notices, it states that we are baptized into the hope of Christ’s Resurrection. Cradle (Baptism) to grave we are one with Christ. Thank you, Father, for your eternal gifts.