The Baptism of the Lord
Why was Jesus baptised? He was sinless; the bath of repentance could not make Him holy. In Matthew’s Gospel account of the this moment in the life of Christ, the former tax collector records the brief exchange where Jesus tells his cousin John; “Let it be so now for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” The humanity of the God Man, perfect as it was, still had to be subjected to Baptism in accordance with the Father’s plan, so that Christ “the firstborn of many brethren,” could establish the pattern that His brothers were later to follow. At His Baptism, it was not Jesus who was cleansed, but the waters themselves which were purified by their encounter with spotless Lamb of God. Now, water, a mere physical substance, confers Spirit, grace, light and love – the very life of God Himself – to the souls of those baptised.
At the close of the Christmas Season at the dawn of the third millennium, we are reminded of the power of this great sacrament which immerses us in the life, death and resurrection of the One who was baptised so many centuries ago. The guilt of original sin is washed away. An indelible sacrament character conforms us to Christ. The Holy Spirit is given as a gift, and abides continually in the soul…and God the Father leads us to embrace our eternal destiny with Him, by the grace conferred upon us by Jesus Christ, whose own baptism we celebrate today.