Engaging the Gospel: Baptism of the Lord

Gospel – Matthew 3:13-17: Jesus deigns to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness

From Pope Benedict XVI’s insights on this feast in 2008:

Basically, the whole mystery of Christ in the world can be summed up in this term: ‘baptism,’ which in Greek means ‘immersion.’

The Son of God, who from eternity shares the fullness of life with the Father and the Holy Spirit, was ‘immersed’ in our reality as sinners to make us share in his own life: he was incarnate, he was born like us, he grew up like us and, on reaching adulthood, manifested his mission which began precisely with the ‘baptism of conversion’ administered by John the Baptist.

Jesus’ first public act, as we have just heard, was to go down into the Jordan, mingling among repentant sinners, in order to receive this baptism. John was naturally reluctant to baptize him, but because this was the Father’s will, Jesus insisted…

This, dear brothers and sisters, is the mystery of Baptism: God desired to save us by going to the bottom of this abyss himself so that every person, even those who have fallen so low that they can no longer perceive Heaven, may find God’s hand to cling to and rise from the darkness to see once again the light for which he or she was made.

We all feel, we all inwardly comprehend, that our existence is a desire for life which invokes fullness and salvation. This fullness is given to us in Baptism.

Homily of January 13, 2008

Question for reflection: How have I surrendered to the embrace of God’s will?

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