Jesus’ Baptism

Our celebration of Christmas does not end with the infant Jesus, but with the adult Jesus being baptized and beginning his saving mission. We who have been baptized with his Spirit take up his work of salvation during Ordinary Time, continuing his mission of bringing the Good News to others.

We tend to think of baptism only as a ritual lasting a few moments. Actually, baptism is a daily immersion in the mission of Jesus and requires lifelong commitment.

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Catholic social morality has always linked peace with justice. Perhaps this would be a good time to remind ourselves of the connection between good order in national and international relations (peace) and good order in all human relations (justice).

As “children born of water and the Spirit, we share in the sonship of Christ” and in a calling to “follow in his path of service” by promoting the peace that flows from justice.

Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice.   Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the
Modern World
 (1965) 78

If you want peace, work for justice. Pope Paul VI, 1972 World Day of Peace Message

Commitment to justice must be closely linked with commitment to peace in the modern world. Pope John Paul II, Laborem Exercens (1981) 2                                 

      Gerald Darring                                https://liturgy.slu.edu

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Jesus was like us in all things but sin, the author of Hebrews reminds us when discussing Jesus’ high priesthood. And yet we balk at the statement. “If he did not sin, how could he really be like us? How could he be fully human?”

We misunderstand this because we misunderstand our humanity as well as our sin. Christ has come not only to reveal the divinity to us; he has come to reveal us to ourselves. Not only is he truly God. He is truly human. And he is truly human precisely because he does not sin. All of our sin is nothing other than the rejection of the truth of our humanity. Jesus’ utter acceptance of our humanity, his drinking of our cup fully, his sharing of our wounded condition, reverses our sinful rejection of our creatureliness.

His baptism, then, is at the heart of his mission to heal us. He enters even the wounds of our self-rejection, without having made the rejection himself. He accepts full solidarity with us even if it means being seen as sinner. Jesus’ baptism is one of his earliest great transformations of our human condition. The first was that the Word itself could take human flesh.                         John Kavanaugh, SJ                                                             

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