He is Baptized for Us

Baptism of the Lord
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

The Baptism of the Lord is a great event in the history of the Church because it is the first public manifestation of our Lord; the official revelation of Jesus as the Son of God to the world in the River Jordan by God the Father. John the Baptist was preaching and preparing in the wilderness and was baptizing all those who responded to his call of repentance. The purpose of his ministry of preaching and baptizing was to direct people towards Jesus who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that Jesus came from Galilee to the River Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. Baptism is a call for the purification of sins, but Jesus is the Holy one of Trinity He does not need any purification. Though He is Son of God, He subjects himself to be baptized by another man to teach us the great virtue of humility.

The first reading taken from the Book of Isaiah tells us that the promised Messiah would be God’s chosen Servant in whom the divine soul would delight. The Messiah would have the Spirit of God upon Him bringing forth justice to all the nations, not just God’s chosen people. As the Servant of God, Jesus’ mission is modest and gentle in nature. He operates by His example and works. He brings a message of hope and consolation to all God’s people. Christ, the Anointed One of God is with us to bring us healing. Most importantly, He is here to restore our peace. Isaiah says in this way: “Console my people, console them…here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him, the prize of his victory is here with him…” This is exactly the ministry for which Christ was anointed and he empowered the human race for the entire salvation of God’s plan.

In the second reading, St. Paul invites us to recall our own Baptism — the gift of the Father, Son and the Spirit. He reminds us that the Lord has come to give us salvation and he gives us through the sacrament of baptism: “God saved us by the cleansing water of baptism and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he poured over us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Through His own baptism, Christ sanctified and opened the fountain of baptism for us. He also initiated our redemptive process.

Today, the baptism of Jesus gives us our own identity. It reminds us who we are and to whom we are sent. By Baptism we become sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven, and temples of the Holy Spirit. We are called to live as the children of God in thought, word and action. We are expected to lead a holy and transparent Christian life. The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we belong to God who created us in his own image and likeness. Let us therefore grow and live in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by meditatively reading of the Word of God and fervently participating in the Holy Mass. Let us ask God to shower on us the divine graces to live out our baptismal life in a worthy manner. May the name of Jesus be glorified!

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