Engaging the Gospel – Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of the Lord (Year C): Gospel – Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

“Jesus’ public life begins with His baptism by John in the Jordan” (Catechism paragraph 535).

Because the Holy Spirit is visibly present as a dove descending upon Jesus, and the Father proclaims Him as His beloved Son, the baptism of Jesus is another aspect of His “epiphany,” or “the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God” (535).

“The Spirit Who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation” (1224).

Christ transformed Baptism into a sacrament, which purifies us from sin, fills us with sanctifying grace, and brings us into this new creation “ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection” (2174). The baptized person is made “a new creature, an adopted son of God, who has become a partaker of the divine nature, member of Christ and co-heir with Him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1265).

As St. Hilary of Poitiers wrote in the mid-fourth century,

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water [in baptism], the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father’s voice, we become sons of God.

— quoted in paragraph 537.

Let us always strive to live in accordance with our baptismal dignity.

Question for reflection: When have I felt especially close to God?

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