Do you remember your baptism? I don’t. Once I was baptizing a baby. When I poured the water on his head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he turned his head and looked at me with a question “where is this coming from?” In a recent baptism, a baby was ready to jump in the baptismal font. He looked content and happy. What did you do at your baptism?
Last weekend we celebrated Epiphany, the revelation of the Lord. This weekend again we celebrate that God the Father reveals his Son: Baptism of the Lord. We can see a beautiful painting in the Gospel: the Baptism of the Lord. We can see here that all three persons of God was present. Jesus Christ, the second person of God, standing at the Jordan River. We hear the voice of the Father from heaven and Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes Christmas and begins the meditation on the ministry of Jesus. Why baptism for Jesus? God’s love was so generous to humble him for us. The Son of God humbled Himself to such a degree that He was born in a manger. He humbled Himself accepting the baptism of John even though He was sinless. We celebrate what happened in him to us. When Jesus was baptized a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased." The same thing happened to us on the day we were baptized. On that moment God said to us, “you are my beloved son/daughter.”
There are three effects of the Baptism. The first effect of baptism is that washes away our Original Sin. We fall again in the life and other Sacraments gives us the mercy of God, and we revisit that baptismal innocence. The second effect of baptism is an indelible mark upon the soul. Here we so closely conformed in Jesus Christ. We become adopted sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. God is the spirit, at the same time he revealed to us as a Father. So we pray the prayer Our Father… We call him Aba Father. The third effect of the baptism is that the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit breathed in our soul and allows us members of the mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
Every time we come into the Church, we dip the fingers of our right hands into the holy water font and bless ourselves. Why? This blessing is supposed to remind us of our baptism. And so when I bless myself with holy water, I should be thinking of the fact that I am a child of God; that I have been redeemed by the Cross of Christ; that I have been made a member of God’s family and that I have been washed, forgiven, cleansed and purified by the blood of the Lamb.
On the day of our baptism, as in St. Pope John Paul II’s writings, "We were anointed with the oil of catechumens, the sign of Christ's gentle strength, to fight against evil. Blessed water was poured over us, an effective sign of interior purification through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We were then anointed with chrism to show that we were thus consecrated in the image of Jesus, the Father's Anointed One. The candle lit from the paschal candle was a symbol of the light of faith which our parents and godparents must have continually safeguarded and nourished with the life-giving grace of the Spirit."
The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of our mission, mission of the Church.