BAPTISM OF THE LORD year A
Jesus the sinless one didn’t need to be baptised. That all four gospels tell us he was baptised seems to indicate that the reflecting and growing early Christian communities felt it was an important event in his life. It marked Jesus transition from village carpenter to announcer of the good news that God’s kingdom, and all that involved, was in the world. In the early church the baptism of Jesus was deemed to be more important than Christmas. With Epiphany and the wedding at Cana it exposed God’s nature and the kind of world he had in mind.
We need to be alert to the image here of Jesus’ physically breaking the waters. Much like when a child is born it breaks the waters of its mother’s womb, Jesus’ baptism is an image of birth: as his head breaks the water he is born into a new consciousness, the consciousness of knowing his own blessedness. It is as if for the rest of his life Jesus is forever hearing inside of him his father’s voice: “You are my beloved son, you bring me great joy.”
Jesus spent the rest of his life seeing the world, seeing people, seeing God and seeing himself through that prism of colour and light. Most of us slept through our own baptism. But just as surely as those words were spoken over Jesus at the Jordan, they were spoken also over us, offering us a perspective through which to see and live. Many who go through adult baptism experience a conversion that enables them to live their lives at a new level and with a new awareness of the needs, gifts, joys and sufferings of their faith community.
The Christian life isn’t lived in isolation. It is shared. At his baptism, Jesus had company. The gospel describes a crowd that was present when he was baptised – and even notes that the Father and the Spirit were there, too. The deepest roots of our faith tie us to others, link us deeply to those around us. This feast reminds us we are part of something greater – and something great. We are connected together by water, by the Spirit and by the transforming fire of the Good News.
Fr. QQ – 01/03/2023
Let Christ be the air you breathe – ST ATHANASIUS.