Today we are celebrating the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. His baptism was not for any cleansing of sin on his part since Jesus was sinless but was a symbol that he took upon himself our sins. To understand that concept, let us remember that we use symbols because we are human creatures who communicate with each other through symbols or symbolic actions/ritual. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“In human life signs and symbols occupy an important place. As a being at once body and spirit, a person expresses and perceives spiritual realities through signs and symbols. As a social being, a person needs signs and symbols to communicate with others, through language, gestures and actions. The same holds true for our relationship with God.” (ccc 1146)
Baptism is one of the seven sacraments of the church, which are rituals celebrated by the church and they find their origin in Jesus’ ministry. For instance, by the end of Mathew’s Gospel the risen Lord commissions his disciples, “Go therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt 28:19)
In this ritual of baptism, let’s consider Jesus’ mission and identity. The first reading encourages us to see in Jesus a servant of God, chosen and beloved. One who is filled with the power of the Spirit and has authority to bring justice and righteousness. He will heal the people and free them. The psalm is the song of the God’s glory and power. In the second reading Peter summarizes that the mission of Jesus after his baptism is for all people without favoritism. In the Gospel Jesus is revealed as the beloved son and anointed by the Father with the holy Spirit and with power.
We too are the beloved children of God through baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit we received in baptism. Because of this we can follow Jesus closely since baptism is also participation in his death and resurrection. Through baptism Christians were set free and are at peace with God and became the members of Christ’s Body; The Church.
Joy and Peace