The Baptism of the Lord
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Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Life begins at 40! We’ve all heard this before. But it’s not true. Life really begins at baptism.
Baptism is an extremely important sacrament. It should never be put off. Its importance comes directly from Jesus Christ, who said: “Unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Jn 3:5). It’s that important! It even makes up an essential ingredient in the Lord’s final command to his disciples: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” After Pentecost, St. Peter’s first words to new believers were: “Repent, and be baptized…” (Acts 2:38).
Baptism is extremely important.
The Lord’s baptism. Even the Lord got baptized! How incredible is that. In fact, it was His very first public act. As soon as the Lord left home, He went straight to John, got in line and got baptized. But why? Because the Lord is desperate to be with us. He wants to be with us. He wants to be united to us. He wants to identify himself with us. But the ultimate reason is because He loves us. And He wants us to know that. He wants us to know we are not alone.
This simple gesture is proof that God’s amazingly shocking humility. It wasn’t enough that God became man. He even had to become a “sinner.” Of course he wasn’t. But who would have known, except the Father.
Our baptism. Our baptism is not just a sacrament; it is also a rite of passage. It can never be just a nice pretty ceremony. It should be mark of something (someone) new. The beginning of an exciting journey. On your mark, get set, go!
Those who are getting baptized, including babies, should be prepared for this rite of passage. That is, there must be a conversion that has taken place beforehand. To get baptized into Christ means to have excepted His plan, His role, and made it my very own. I must take up my cross and follow Him. He must increase. I must decrease. Every time this happens the heavens will open and we will hear the words our Lord heard: “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.”
Audio of my homily is available at All Saints Website.
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