THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
This Sunday we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, when Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan by John. None of us remember when we were baptised when we were infants but that said we may know an Adult who was baptised at the Easter Vigil or at another time through the RICA process.
Sometimes beginnings are not remembered because they didn’t seem important at the time. However, some events in our lives become important because later on we see that it was then that something started, it was when we met that particular person or did a particular thing that changed our lives. Of course there are beginnings that are important like baptisms, marriages and ordinations. We like to mark these beginnings so we surround them with ceremony to give a sense of occasion. So the relatives are called in, photographers are hired, priests officiate, solemn words are spoken, cameras click, music is played, and there is an atmosphere of rejoicing. Clearly, something happened to Jesus while he was with John. He underwent a change that gave his life a new direction while he is with John, Jesus makes his big beginning. As Peter says in the second reading, “Jesus of Nazareth… began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism.” John was a very important turning point in the life of Jesus – so important that Jesus says of him later: “of all the children born of women, there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28).
It is a measure of John’s importance that Jesus makes a three-day journey south to the place in the Jordan valley where people immerse themselves in the river in response to John’s call. It is unlikely that Jesus’ relationship with John was confined to the moment of baptism; but it is the baptism that is the most important moment. Jesus is baptised in the company of many other people; for him, as for them, a new time begins. For us when we celebrate baptism there is a new beginning for the person who is baptised infant young person or adult. The baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan marked the beginning of a journey which ultimately led Jesus to the Cross on Good Friday and our own baptism was also the beginning of our faith journey which won’t lead to the cross but will lead to eternal life. Through our baptism we died with Christ and thus have been reborn into a whole new life (Romans 6). We, the baptized, are made a part of the body of Christ. We are called to imitate Jesus. We have the companionship of the Spirit of Jesus who is our wisdom, impulse and help to do good.
That same Spirit will enable us to do what is right in every situation we may find ourselves in. So today as we are reminded of our baptism by renewing our baptismal promises and being sprinkled with holy water. Take a moment and reflect on where your baptismal journey has brought you. What has been joyful for you on this journey? Then look around at everyone else and give thanks that together we can celebrate our life in Christ and look forward to further adventures in the life of faith as we journey along the road.