Jesus is baptized in the river Jordan by St. John the Baptist and God the Almighty Father and the Holy Spirit reveal themselves to many eyewitnesses. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can more fully experience Jesus in the Sacraments and by seeking the Fruits of Faithfulness, Joy, Peace and Love so he can deeply ponder the blessings of his Baptism.
Christmastime – The Baptism of Christ the Lord – Sunday Cycle A – Mt 3:13-17
John the Baptist, the long-prophesied forerunner of Jesus, was miraculously conceived by the barren and elderly Elizabeth with her elderly husband Zechariah, and was given the specific mission and preparation throughout his life to announce the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus, after the death of His beloved earthly father St. Joseph, travels the 60 miles from Galilee to be baptized by His relative John the Baptist, in preparation for His public ministry.
John the Baptist’s baptismal rituals symbolized a person’s repentance from their sins, and the hope that God would forgive them; while a positive step, John’s baptisms lacked the power of the Holy Spirit to remove sin and give men supernatural grace. Because he is the greatest among men born of women (Mt 11:11), John the Baptist recognizes he is not worthy to baptize the Son of God. John’s awe of Jesus is reiterated (Lk 3:17) as he describes Jesus’ coming judgment of all men (“winnowing fork”), and Jesus’ power to send souls to Heaven (the “granary”) or Hell (“unquenchable fire”).
Jesus, in His human nature was like men in every way except sin, and as a result, has no need for baptism; He has no sin from which to repent. Nevertheless, out of solidarity with mankind and to take on all the sins of the world, Jesus submits to be baptized by the unworthy John. The heavens violently open up (literally, “ripped” or “torn”), the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, and the Father confirms His pleasure with His Son, offering a supernatural confirmation of the long-promised coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist’s many years of austere service to God in the wilderness is rewarded as he is given the consolation to witness the manifestation of the Trinity (Jn 1:32).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Every single act of Jesus is perfect, deliberate and focused on offering each soul the salvation of eternal life. Marvel as how despite being Perfect, without any sin, Jesus with Divine Humility lowers Himself to submit to the baptism of John in solidarity with all men, establishing the Sacrament of Baptism, and setting the standard that every man desiring baptism must follow.
Be blessed to experience Jesus in the Sacraments
Realize: The Church translated the Greek word mysterion, meaning “secret counsel of God”, as sacramentum, the root of the word Sacrament; the Sacraments are “mysteries of the faith”, supernatural truths whose existence cannot be known without direct revelation by God.
Believe: As the liturgical season of Christmastime ends and Ordinary Time begins, reflect upon the central Mystery of Faith (CCC 50, 69).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so You allow me to more clearly see, know and experience Your astounding Presence in the Sacraments, recognize You in the events of daily life, and be guided by You in all my thoughts, words and deeds.
Deeply ponder the blessings of Baptism
Realize: Jesus’ baptism was the first action in His public ministry, and the Sacrament of Baptism is every Catholic man’s first act to enter into the mystery of Christ.
Believe: As Christmastime ends for another year, reflect upon Christ’s Baptism (CCC 535-537, 565, 1223-1225) and The Sacrament of Baptism (CCC 1213-1284).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Faithfulness, Joy, Peace, and Love so I more fully experience the blessings of Your eternal gift of Baptism, more perfectly live out my baptismal vows each day and joyfully fulfill my duties as a Catholic father to ensure my spouse and children receive the life-giving blessing of the Sacrament of Baptism.