Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
January 11, 2015 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

After 30 years of silence, prayer and work, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee to the River Jordan in order to be baptized by John the Baptist, thereby leaving his ordinary life behind. The moment had arrived to begin his public life, to manifest God’s love to the world. Now, Jesus’ heretofore hidden glory was to be revealed to everyone.

A long line of people were waiting for John to baptize them. Jesus lined up with them. He came to John the Baptist as a beggar. He shares our human condition. He puts himself in our place. He does not need to be baptized. He does not need conversion. Jesus descends into the waters of the Jordan in order to manifest God’s love for us. God created us and wants to recreate us through the grace of baptism. We do not exist by chance. In the roots of our being is the mystery of love: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you […]” (Jer: 1:5).

The Father sent the Son in order to adopt us through him. Jesus’ baptism opened Heaven to us all. For each of us, the day of our baptism was the moment when Heaven was opened to us. Since that day, God’s infinite mercy entered our lives and we became new creatures. The continual rediscovery of this reality allows us to change, to become better persons.

What allows us to change is not our resolutions, our efforts or our plans. It is the surprise of God’s mercy that transforms our lives. Change is born from the constant discovery that God loves us. We were chosen, our names were written in heaven. All of this happened on the day of our baptism.

After Jesus’ baptism, “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son.’” Jesus was baptized in order for the Father’s voice to reach each one of us. On the day of our baptism, the same voice that echoed in the Jordan was also heard in the secret of our hearts: “You are my beloved son.”

We need to listen to this voice over and over, although we can easily forget to do so. We forget that we belong to Him, we forget our immense dignity. However, Our Father is so good to us that he not only gave us the Sacrament of Baptism but also the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in order for us to experience the certainty of God’s love every time we go to confession.

The experience of God’s mercy transforms us into better persons. A changed person changes the world.

May the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord help us to appreciate the richness of the gift we received on the day of our baptism, when we became new creatures and obtained new life.

The grace of baptism is like a seed, with a whole world of hidden potentialities. However, it requires good soil and care. Whether this seed will become a fruitful plant is up to us.

Let us ask for our daily rediscovery of the grace contained in our baptism. Let us ask for the grace to be increasingly certain of God’s love for us.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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