Baptism of the Lord

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Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019

Location: All Parishes

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Christmas season. "The origin and foundation of Christian baptism is Jesus. Before starting his public ministry, Jesus submitted himself to the baptism given by John the Baptist. The waters did not purify him; he cleansed the waters. 'He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake ... to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water' (St. Gregory Nazianzen, Liturgy of the Hours , I, 634). Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he was totally faithful to the will of his Father and free from sin. However, he wanted to show his solidarity with human beings in order to reconcile them to the Father. By commanding his disciples to baptize all nations, he established the means by which people would die to sin — original and actual — and begin to live a new life with God." (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, pp. 184)

In this 2016 homily on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor explains the significance of Jesus' baptism in his overall mission on earth.

"Today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the event that began Jesus' public ministry. It was the start of his career as teacher and healer and redeemer — his true calling in life. In order to respond to this calling, Jesus had to make a mid-life career change. He left his career in carpentry to pursue his true vocation in life: to announce and establish the Kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.

"Not everyone understood — to leave a good job to pursue this uncertain and dangerous future? Even some of his own family thought he was crazy. In today's Gospel, we have Jesus' prefigurement at the time of his calling, of four of our sacraments. He was baptized by John (baptism) for the forgiveness of sins (even though he didn't have any — reconciliation). The Holy Spirit descended on him (confirmation) and God's voice from heaven declared: "You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests" (ordination). Our second reading from the Acts of the Apostles says: "God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good works and healing all who were in the grip of the devil, and God was with him." God called and Jesus responded."