This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John. The beginning of the messianic work of Jesus is marked by the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. The sacrament of Baptism is the key to all the other sacraments; it is the foundational sacrament if you like for us today. Baptism has two essential results, firstly it wipes us clean from sin and secondly it makes us members of the Church. It also opens up the opportunity for us to receive the other sacraments, most particularly the Eucharist which is the sacrament that we most frequently experience and which is the main way that our souls are nourished by God’s grace. We remember that John foretold Jesus coming and he is acclaimed on earth by John and Jesus links himself to John by being baptized by him. Jesus is acclaimed from heaven by the voice of the Father and the presence of the Spirit.
Most of us rarely think about our own baptism, Through our baptism we died with Christ and 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, whom Paul says, “went about doing good.” We don’t need a detailed rule book in order to know how we should act in each situation of our lives, for in baptism, we have the companionship of the Spirit of Jesus who is our wisdom, our help and our guide to do good, and enable us to do what is right in every situation we may find ourselves in.The baptism of Jesus is a moment of special grace in our story of salvation. Not only did the Son of God join us in our human condition but the Father and the Spirit were seen and heard to be present with him by the banks of the Jordan. The gospel for this Sunday uses the simple phrase that “the heavens were opened,” the voice of the Father was heard saying this is my Son and it is a powerful statement.
This particular gospel story is the beginning of the journey that Jesus was to undertake and it brought him to Calvary and the cross. Through our own baptism, each of us is asked to travel a spiritual journey of faith though we won’t end up on the Cross. Our personal faith journeys have one great purpose and the purpose is that we should try to live our lives as people of God enlivened by the Holy Spirit. Sons and daughters of the Father who are called through baptism to bring his love into the world .