REFLECTION ON THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
AND THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
January 9-10, 2021
If Jesus is sinless, why did He seek out John the Baptist to be baptized by him, which was a Trinitarian event. (Mt 3:11-17)? The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and His acceptance of His mission as the Suffering Servant (Is 42:1). It also signifies His complete submission to His Father’s will to die in order to redeem people from their sins. He provides an example that we are to follow for no one can see the Lord without holiness (Heb. 12:14). Jesus declared the necessity of the rebirth to Nicodemus (Jn. 3:1-9).
At the very outset (Jn. 3:22, 4:1-2), Jesus’ disciples acted under His instruction as to the matter and form of the sacrament (oath) which they were to dispense (an external rite, instituted by Jesus, conferring grace bestowed by the Holy Spirit). Jesus’ baptism prefigures the sacrament which Jesus commends His disciples to perform (Mt 28:19), (CCC 535-536, 668). Although the scriptures do not state that Jesus Himself conferred baptism on anyone, there is an ancient tradition that He baptized Peter only, and Peter baptized the other Apostles; and that Jesus’ descent into the waters of Jordan purified the waters of the world and made them holy for our use in Christian baptism.
Baptism is a sacrament of regeneration (reborn to spiritual life) by water and performed with the prescribed form of words (the invocation of the Holy Trinity). It marks us with the seal of God, as adopted children of God and heirs to the Kingdom. Baptism, with its symbols of death and life, is necessary for salvation (Jn. 3:5). It forgives sins (original and personal), infuses the life of God into soul, makes us children of God, becoming members of the mystical body of Jesus, incorporates into the Church, and sharers in His mission (CCC 1213-1224), (Catholic Answers). Now, aren’t you glad that you have been baptized!?