Baptism of the Lord

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

We are commemorating today the third of the manifestations of the Lord. The Nativity being the first, the Visit of the Magi being the second; and the fourth one will be commemorated next weekend as Jesus performed His first miracle in the Wedding at Cana in Galilee. These four significant events in the life of Jesus are ratifications of His divine nature that is shared in His Person with our human nature and lived with us through His Incarnation. We have heard it before: “God became man so that man may be divinized and saved according to the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were bestowed on us when we were received into the Church at our sacramental baptism.”

On the other hand, if we were taught that baptism is the remission of original sin that we inherited from our first parents, then why would Jesus need to be baptized whereas He was never touched by original sin? He leads by example for our sake. His baptism in the river, though, which resembles our own baptism has another purpose. John’s baptism was an affirmation of the divine sonship that Jesus has from the very beginning. Ours on the other hand, is the divine adoption that allows us to be sharers of God’s life eternal that was brought by the victory of Jesus’ Resurrection. We become adopted sons and daughters of God. We were born from the heart of God. The affirmation of God’s voice on the descent of the Holy Spirit during the baptism of Jesus was an initiation to the ministry that He was sent by God. The divine authority that the Father confirmed on Jesus was not simply an extension of what the Father enjoys, rather, it was a clear affirmation of the nature of Jesus as the eternally begotten Son of God.

In a way, this third manifestation of the Lord should give us a much closer identity to the One who has loved us first. This divine integrity should generate in us a confidence that allows us also to call God “Abba – Father.” The Fatherhood of God that is revealed through Jesus during His baptism is the same Fatherhood that is shared with us at our sacramental baptism.  This said, the love that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as God’s Trinitarian identity, should be made evident in us as Christian disciples. It is a choice that we ought to make. It is a decision that we ought to discern each time we are involved in our interaction with all others. It is a call to consciousness of who we truly are as beloved children of the Father.

The Baptism of Jesus calls for a relationship that is life generating and life giving. The Father’s voice was an articulation that assured Jesus of the irrevocable presence of God even during the most challenging time of Jesus’ mission. Jesus was given the certainty that God is the ultimate vision and purpose of His Incarnation. So are we, God claimed us as His own because our own baptism is also the assurance of the divine identity that He shared with us.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,