10 January 2019
The Baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ
Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after His own Baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from Heaven, ‘You are My Son, the Beloved; My favour rests on You.’ Luke 3:22
We have now come to the end of the Christmas season which closes with the final ‘epiphanal’ or ‘showing’ of Christ to the world.
This weekend we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus. This marks the beginning of Ordinary Time once again.
Over the past few weeks the Church has concentrated upon the Coming and the Birth of Jesus and the visit to the Infant Jesus by the Magi with their three symbolic gifts. Now, we fast forward to when Jesus is a thirty-year old man. Following His hidden years in Nazareth as a humble carpenter, we come to the moment in His life when Jesus is about to begin His public ministry which will culminate in His Death, Resurrection and Ascension.
Before He begins His ministry and the work that His Father has given Him to do, Jesus comes to be baptised. He comes to John, His cousin, and presents Himself to be baptised by him. In choosing to be Baptised, Jesus becomes our role model once again and sets out the path He asks us to follow. We too share in Jesus’ Baptism when we are baptised either as infants or children perhaps even later on as an adult seeking to be received into the Church. Through our Baptism, we become adopted into God’s Family, we become children of God. We become like Jesus.
Jesus’ Baptism is one of the last epiphanial moments in His early life. In being baptised, and with the Father’s affirmation upon Him as He comes up out of the water in the form of dove as He prays, Jesus is Confirmed by the Father as His own Beloved Son. He affirms Jesus and seals the beginning of His ministry. Jesus’ Baptism gives Him the strength and support He’ll need in the three years which lie ahead.
So too in our own lives and situations. As we begin our New Year we turn now to think about and pray for our young people in Years 7 and 8 who will be making their Confirmation in June. They received the gift of Baptism many years ago and over the next few months will be preparing to receive the Holy Spirit with all His gifts and graces in Confirmation. May we pray for them. They too are sons and daughters of God our Heavenly Father and He says to them and us as He said to Jesus. ‘You are my beloved son/daughter and my favour rests on you.’
Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Your faithful ones
and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created
and You shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.