FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
(White) Cycle C, Year I (January 10, 2016)
Is 42:1-4, 6-7/Acts 10:34-38/Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
In the beginning, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters, and God said: “Let there be light,” and there was light (Cf. Gen 1:1-3). The Holy Spirit and the water are the elements of creation. In the gospel for this Sunday, we see Jesus Christ being baptized by John in the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. There is the presence of the water of the Jordan River and of the Holy Spirit – the elements of creation. This means that God is recreating the whole world through Jesus Christ and particularly through the Sacrament of Baptism.
There was a need of recreation since the first creation was tainted and damaged by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve and the sinfulness of the humanity. The relationship between God and man was damaged due to these sins and the selfishness of man and so the heavens were closed. But God is love that He would not want that the humanity whom He created in His image and likeness be separated from Him forever. For this reason, He sent His only begotten Son to save the humankind, to heal it and to recreate it.
This recreation of the humanity is best manifested in the Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan River. The heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus Christ and a voice from heaven said: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22b). With the sending of the Holy Spirit, the heavens were opened, showing the willingness of God to communicate with the humanity and to establish a harmonious relationship of love with them. The presence of the Holy Spirit and of the waters from the Jordan River as elements of creation set the tone for the creating act of God that began to happen when He said: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Lk 3:22b).
God recreated the humanity by making the human persons as sons and daughters of God in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Lord. When God said “You are my beloved son” it was not only meant to Jesus; it was also meant to each of the human person whom God has converted to be His son or daughter through Jesus Christ. Such recreation happened through Jesus Christ because Jesus offered His life for the humanity on the cross. He gave His divine life to the humanity by dying on the cross. The Fathers of the Church explain this by saying that God became man so that man might become god. Indeed, through the sacrifice of the cross, the humanity received the divine life of Christ, making them real children of God, with the right to say to God “Our Father in Heaven.”
Such recreation happens in the individual person when he or she receives the Sacrament of Baptism. In this sacrament, the man dies in his sinfulness and rises with Christ as a son of God. All of us then are children of God through the Sacrament of Baptism. This sacrament of recreation which we received when we were yet children has transformed us into new persons as children of God.
This feast of the Baptism of our Lord reminds us of the baptism that we received and most especially of the recreation that happened to us during our baptism. It exhorts us to deny ourselves and our selfishness and to get rid of our sinful ways. It calls us to live in accord with our dignity as children of God.