Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Baptism of the Lord

     It has been a few days since the last post, but believe it or not, not much exciting or of note has happened in my life.  We survived the "polar vortex" and are enjoying slightly warmer but still typically overcast and damp days here in Western PA.  As I have said before, I am not a Winter person, and I truly appreciate my friends on face book who remind me of the number of days remaining until Spring.  We have been fortunate in our neck of the woods, though, compared to many.

     When Jesus came to his cousin John at the River Jordan for John's baptism, it was to a baptism of repentance, an announcement of the imminence of the kingdom and a call to personal conversion and repentance that would prepare the person for the coming Messiah.  It was a spiritual cleansing experienced in the bath of repentance in the waters of the Jordan.  But Jesus was without sin and in no need of repentance, thus John's surprise and reluctance to share this ritual with Jesus.  Jesus' desire, though, was to transform this bath of renewal into a bath of rebirth.  Not only does the baptism offered by Jesus and his Church bring about the forgiveness of sin, it also removes the burden of that original sin of our first parents.  Not only are we called to commit ourselves to prepare for the coming kingdom, but now we are called to embrace that kingdom with love and service in the here and now, in the journey of our lives.  We are now called to be Christ and enter into the divine and not just look for him and continue to trudge along on our own steam.

     This baptism is life giving, Spirit filled and a source of grace.  This baptism opens the door to the other sacraments, to a realization of what it means to belong, to be family, and to the Call to love and service that belongs to the disciples of the Lord.  That is why our baptism is so important, so vital to our spiritual health.

     Jesus began his public ministry upon coming out of the waters of the Jordan.  Our public ministry of witnessing to the Good News of Christ is to be lived at every moment since our baptism.  All for the honor and glory of the Father.

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