⏰The Baptism of the Lord (Year B)

📖Isa 55:1-11; Isa 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6 (R.v.3); 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11


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.” John’s 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 God’s 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 First Reading makes reference to that invitation. Towards the end of his prophecy, the exilic-prophet Isaiah invites the people to come and share in the inner life of God, in the form of a new covenant which was often symbolised by a great banquet. Membership to this great banquet would cost nothing other than seeking the Lord by calling upon him and shunning all acts of wickedness (Isa 55:6-7). That was the same purpose that the baptism of John served in the Gospel.

St John tells us in the Second Reading that such a journey is a journey of faith which enables us to overcome the world. But more than that, it makes us children of God (see also John 1:12). That is an exalted position because, in it, we stand the chance of once again hearing the voice of the Father saying to us, “You are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased.”

May God give us the grace of being faithful disciples of Jesus so that we might be in the train of those he would lead on to the glory of his Kingdom. Amen.

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