“THE LORD WILL BLESS HIS PEOPLE WITH PEACE” (Ps 29:11)
????Isa 42:1-4, 6-7; Ps 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10 (R.v.11b); Acts 10:34-38; Matt 3:13-17
????”THE LORD WILL BLESS HIS PEOPLE WITH PEACE” (Ps 29:11)
According to the Catholic Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Baptism is a sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God and members of the Church. Johns baptism, which Jesus participated in was also called a baptism of repentance. With the above in mind, it is of little wonder why the early Christians felt embarrassed at the thought of the Baptism of Jesus. Would that mean that Jesus was with original sin? If no, it means that the Baptism was for a different purpose than the definition we have above.
Indeed, from the initial restrain of John the Baptist from baptising Jesus, Jesus himself confirmed that the baptism was for the fulfilment of all righteousness (cf. Matt 3:15). Some people may want to see that as the Matthean way of presenting Jesus as the fulfilment of the Law, but it must be more than that. One renowned homilist, considers the Baptism of Jesus as having four important meanings which reflect its meaning for us too.
????????It marks a decisive moment in the life of Jesus to begin his ministry of bringing sinners back to God;
????????It is a sign of identification with the sinners that he is set to save;
????????It initiates Gods approval of the mission of Christ when God declared, You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased (Mark 1:11);
????????With it, Jesus was equipped with the Holy Spirit, indicating what also happens to us at our own baptism.
We can now see that it is all about us. Jesus’ baptism was an invitation to us to share in the very life of Christ.
The Second Reading makes reference to that invitation and the good news is that everyone has a place in that life of Christ. The identity card to be used in answering this call is nothing other than seeking the Lord in righteousness. That was the same purpose that the baptism of John served in the Gospel.
As St. Peter noted in the Second Reading, Jesus comes with a message of peace, healing and freedom. The prophet Isaiah made an indication of this in the First Reading. The Servant of the Lord, whom Christians call Christ comes with justice for the oppressed, healing to the sick and an open door to success. May all these never elude you through Christ our Lord. Amen.
With this celebration, we officially come to the end of the Christmas season but not the end of Christmas. Christ will now continue to be born in and through us. The green colour which reappears in our liturgy from tomorrow beckons on us to bear fruit in abundance with our lives.
May God give us the grace to bear good fruits so that we might be in the train of those he would lead gloriously into his Kingdom through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have a glorious week ahead. It is well with you.