Reflections - January 10, 2016

“I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.  He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.”  Lk. 3:16.
 
A few days ago a young man who does not practice the faith asked his friend the following question:  “Why throw water on the child’s head to baptize him?”
 
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
 
I would like to reflect with you on the meaning of Baptism, but before let’s delve into who gave us this Sacrament and for what.
 
The Gospel tells us that Jesus came from Nazareth to the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist.  Now, of course, Jesus did not need to be baptized because He had no sins.  He was the Son of God, however, He wants to be in solidarity with our humanity.  “In everything like us except in sin”.
 
 
He was in solidarity at birth in his poverty and humility.  He was obedient even to death on the cross.  He assumed pain to free us from our sins.  Jesus was faithful to ,the plan of salvation.   “I, the Lord, have called you…..I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations…..to bring out prisoners from confinement”.  Is.  42:6-7.
 
This is the mission that Jesus received at His Baptism, the mission and task of Servant.  “He went about doing good.”  Acts 10:38.
 
I would like to end with a text from the Catechism of the Church that does not answer the question:  Why throw water on the child’s head to baptized him, but for what reason is water thrown on the child’s head to baptized him.  In the first place to be released from original sin, all personal sins, to be freed from the power of evil, and to participate in divine Trinitarian life through sanctifying grace.  In the second place, faith is needed.  “What are we to do?” was asked of Peter and he responded:  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins….”.  Acts 2:38.  Baptism is the sacrament of faith. (cf Mc 16:16).  But faith has need of the community of believers….The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to be developed….For the grace of baptism to develop, the parent’s help is important.  That is also the role of the godfather or godmother that should be solid believers capable and ready to help the newly baptized person, child or adult, in the way of Christian life (cf CIC can. 872-874) (Catechism 1253-55).
 
And, of course, for all of us that have been baptized we need to be in solidarity with the newly baptized like Christ because “through baptism we are all brothers of the same good Father.  Therefore, we should be interested in everything and nothing should be strange to us especially the pain of our brothers and sisters”.