BAPTISM OF THE LORD C
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?
What makes a Christian different? It is his baptism. A Christian carries a label, a tag, an invisible identification with the One he loves and follows. But how exactly is this shown in daily life? Let us look at the baptism of Jesus today and from this episode, let us reflect on our own status as baptized in the living and saving fountain.
Jesus’ baptism revealed that he, the Word, truly became flesh. John, in seeing Jesus on the banks of the Jordan, rejoiced that he spotted the Lamb of God. But when the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus, it was revealed that the Lamb was actually the Son of God. Not in heaven, not in the mind only, but in the flesh. Jesus was at home in the flesh, living fully his human life, never pretending to be what he was not.
Being baptized means that we too must be the same. We must rejoice in our body in the face of threats against it – cheap sex, instant pleasure, unjust murders of the defenseless, discrimination against the weak and the poor. Why do we need the sacraments of the church? it is because the sacraments open our bodies to be blessed, purified and empowered by the Lord. He cleanses us, he nourishes us, he forgives us, he heals us, he consecrates us, he unites us with the people we love, through the body he gave us to love and enjoy.
Jesus’ baptism also revealed that though he was comfortable in his own body, his goals went beyond self-satisfaction and self-interest. He came to proclaim the Kingdom of his Father and to invite all people to discover in God their own father too! In the Jordan, the Spirit came down and the Father’s voice was heard, signifying that he belonged to something bigger, greater, nobler than could ever be known.
As baptized, we must gaze out on the limitless horizon before us and not get entangled in just the minute and trivial things right under our noses. In this world, it is so easy to be concentrate on our career, care for our own families, carve our own future, while forgetting that we are in fact citizens not only of the earth but of heaven. Like Jesus, our hearts must point us to the Kingdom of God and not only to our little comfort zones. So, we need to reach out to others, involve ourselves in community, cooperate and unite with others who seek to love and serve the Lord.
Let us pray today to remember the value and dignity of our baptismal status. May we become like Jesus in loving who we are and offering our lives for the pursuit of the wider world of God’s kingdom.