Monday, June 24, 2019

Pala: The Baptism of Jesus


DO YOU know when you were baptized?

POPE Francis once asked the same question and he said that to know the date of our baptism is to know a blessed day. He invited the faithful to remember their baptism date and celebrate it, saying “it is our second birthday, our rebirth.” It is the day the Holy Spirit entered our lives. I was baptized on the Feast of St. Isidore the Laborer, May 15 in a small chapel in Gusa.

Pope Francis reminds us that the danger of not knowing is that we can lose awareness of what the Lord has done in us, the memory of the gift we have received. He asserted that we must reawaken the memory of our Baptism since we are called to live out our Baptism every day as the present reality of our lives.

This Sunday is the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. This is the end of the Christmas season. In the gospel John declared before all the people, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming, who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

There are two kinds of baptism mentioned in our gospel: the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus. The baptism of John is only a preparation for Jesus’ baptism. It is a baptism of repentance, a realization of what we are doing wrong and a clear resolution to correct our bad behaviour. But the baptism of Jesus brings us into the family of and community of God through the grace of God. This grace empowers us internally to do what is impossible for us to do on our own. We are not only saved from our sins but we are transformed in the baptism of Jesus. We become the children of God.

The baptism of Jesus showed His solidarity with us. By allowing himself to be baptized in water, he wants to be immersed and drowned in our human condition - in all ways except sin. He wants to be with us. But it did not end there. He wants us to be with him as children of God.

God could have chosen another path - an easier and glorious way instead he embraced the most difficult and painful way - by becoming one of us in the path of incarnation and accompaniment. Christianity one commentator said is the only religion that believes in a mysterious God who humbled himself to become one of His own creatures, embracing the fullness of our humanity in order to redeem us from inside our own nature and condition.

Jesus is the Son of God. This is His identity. St. Luke wrote that a dove descended upon Jesus and a voice was heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.” The dove symbolizes the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the voice is God the Father recognizing Jesus as His own. From the start of the public life of Jesus, the Holy Trinity is present.

Jesus was revealed as the beloved Son at his baptism. Similarly at our own baptism we too, received our new identity as adopted children of the Father. We are invited to share in the life of the Holy Trinity. At the moment of our baptism, the Father holds and embraces us saying, “This is my beloved son, this is my beloved daughter with whom I am well pleased.”

Our baptism is not about what we were before or what we do or how we act after - it is about what we become in Jesus Christ - a result of his loving and merciful act of becoming one of us.

So now, go and know what the date of your baptism is and celebrate!


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