January 13, 2013

The Gospel Today

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Lk 3: 15-16; 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

Reflection (Sem. Louiemar C. Melgar)

 

I asked myself why is it that Jesus had to undergo baptism, when in fact He is the Lord. We all know that baptism is for us sinners; and is not meant for Jesus because He is not a sinner. That is why John the Baptist said that ‘I am not worthy even to untie the straps of His sandals.’ He even said in the gospel of Matthew, ‘I am the one that you are supposed to baptize, not that I am the one baptizing you.’ Baptism cleans our original sin; “through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God.” However, although Jesus is sinless, He underwent baptism to show us that He is one with us except sin. That is the reason why the Son of Man incarnates into this world to be one with us, to be the Emmanuel –‘God is with us.’ I believe Jesus chose to go through all of these; be born on the manger, grew with His father Joseph the carpenter, and be baptized by John the Baptist, for Him to experience the life of a human person. Thus, Jesus wanted to go through the entire process.

I believe the gospel is telling me and the rest of us to be patient, and not to take shortcuts in life. Several times in our daily lives, we want to shorten the process. When we fall in line paying our bills, at the bank, at the train stations, at the fast-food centres, etc., we wanted to be the first in line. Sad to say there were moments that we overtake the people in front of us, for us to push our individual priorities. Personally, I have this particular experience trying to be the first one to be in the lineat the supermarket. While I fall in line waiting for my turn, I transferred toanother lane thinking that I can be ahead but only to find out that it adds more delay on my part.

The challenge is to go through the process and to undergo the basics, and not to make any shortcuts in life because when we shorten the process we might be repeating the whole process again. Like Jesus, we have to undergo our own baptism not that we have to be baptized again with water but by immersing ourselves in Christ that we may be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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