Read Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7, Ps. 29:1-4,9-10, Matthew 3:13-17
“And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
Yesterday we celebrated the Epiphany of Jesus Christ; and today, we are officially bringing the whole Christmas Season to an End with the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. St. Maximus of Turin beautifully sums up the essence of our celebration today in these words:
“At Christmas, Jesus was born a man; today he is reborn sacramentally. Then, he was born from the Virgin; today he is born in mystery. When he was born a man, his mother Mary held him close to her heart; when he is born in mystery, God the Father embraces him with his voice when he says: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased...” The mother caresses the tender baby on her lap; the Father serves his Son with his loving testimony. The mother holds the child for the Magi to adore; the Father reveals that his Son is to be worshiped by all the nations.”
Our celebration of the baptism of Jesus reminds us of the meaning of baptism, the fact that we too were baptized, and the demands of our baptism. What does it mean to be baptized? As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).
To be baptized is to be born again and unless we die, we cannot be born again. Long before the era of the Gospel of prosperity, long before the era of “I receive it,” the most common question on the lips of Christian brothers and sisters was: “Are you born again?” Yes, that was the era when people could actually say, “I have seen the light” because their lives were truly transformed; sin no longer held sway in their daily routines.
Unfortunately, things have changed today; too much water has passed under the bridge. No one sees the light anymore; it is now about “how I was poor before, now I am stingingly rich.” It is now about how this miracle or that miracle which I had been praying for over the years eventually happened. Testimony time today is now about how I sowed this seed or made this offering and how God “multiplied” it.
Christianity today needs repentance. Yes, all of us who still call ourselves Christians today need to return to the basics. We all need to be born again. Christianity as we practice it today needs to die and become born again. This death is concretized in the baptismal promises to which we respond “I do.” I reject Satan. I reject everything that Satan has to offer. I refuse to listen to Satan’s promises. I reject the glamour of evil. I reject any sinful habit. I walk in the light.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I place my life in your hands and repent of all my past sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (The Baptism of the Lord – Feast. Bible Study: Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7, Ps. 29:1-4,9-10, Matthew 3:13-17).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu