The baptism of Jesus is a wonderful feast, in the simple words of Mark’s Gospel we see the Christ who was promised descend from Jordan’s banks into the waters and the heaven’s torn open to reveal Jesus as part of the Trinity, with him the voice of the Father and the descending spirit unite them all in love.
Jesus’ baptism was literally a watershed in his life. From it all his mission flowed, until that day when the veil of the Temple rent in two as he gave his life up for us on the Cross and rising from death revealed the Resurrection. It is the prototype of our baptism , in the waters of the font we die to sin and receive the life of Christ, we truly become children of God and anointed with Holy Chrism receive the life giving Spirit
So,let us look at our own baptism and re-examine our baptismal vows. What do they mean? How many of us actually celebrate our baptismal anniversary as a special day? We ought to make more of it, after all it was the day we were adopted as brothers and sisters of the Lord.
One of our promises is to reject sin, a more sobering image; in the past week we have witnessed scenes of terror and carnage in France, people killed in the name of God! All because what they had done was seen as offensive to a particular form of religious belief.
Christians as well as Muslims need to hang our head in shame at these outrages, for in the not too distant past our forbears did similar things in the name of ‘truth’ and even now in the Church there are those who are only too ready to punish others in the name of God!
The reading from the prophet Isaiah hits home some very deep truths for us, baptism began Jesus’ mission, it begins our own, we are called to ‘seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near, let the wicked forsake their way’, this is a time to shout out the words of John the Baptist to repent of our sinful ways, ‘for they are not my ways, says the Lord’.
Hatred cannot be our baptismal mission, we are sent to proclaim hope, forgiveness and love. Pope Francis like St John XXIII has re-opened a window and let the Spirit blow back into the half shuttered rooms of the Church, he sets an example of tolerance. ‘Let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them’.
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