Posted by: fvbcdm | January 12, 2013

Feast of Saint Francisca Salesia (11 Jan 2013)

This Sunday, we come to the feast of the Baptism of Our Divine Lord by Saint John the Baptist, and that brings the Christmas season to an end. Some years ago, when Pope John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries to the world-wide Catholic devotion to the Holy Rosary, he chose as the first of the Luminous Mysteries the baptism of Our Lord. It was the beginning of Jesus’s public life. And it was immensely significant because it was the first time that the three Divine Persons of the Trinity were manifested at the same time and place.

Our Lord stands in the water of the River Jordan, the Holy Spirit hovers over his head in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father rings out, saying: “This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” Thus we find God the Father and God the Holy Spirit giving their divine and official approbation to this man who looks like an ordinary human being, but who is, in fact, the second Person of the Holy Trinity: God the Son. 

Furthermore, the fact that Jesus requested John’s baptism shows his deep humility and his desire to identify himself with us, sinners. You see, John was performing a rite of repentance. Those who received John’s baptism, which was a private ritual and not one of the Christian sacraments, were acknowledging themselves as sinners seeking washing—cleansing—purification. Our Lord certainly needed none of that since he was not a sinner, but rather the infinitely holy God. But he came into this sinful human race of ours to save us. Thus he becomes a member of a sinful people, and a sinner by extension. And on the cross, he would pay the penalty for sin, thus saving the entire human race. Our Lord’s baptism by water in the Jordan leads directly to his baptism by his own blood on the cross. And because he opened for us the gates of heaven by his death and resurrection, his baptism in the Jordan leads also to ours in the Church which he founded and which is the source of all Christian grace for the world. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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