Today, the Christmas season officially comes to a close as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of The Lord. For many, the season seems like a distant memory. Stores have already moved on to Valentine’s Day and most of our Christmas trees and decorations have been removed and placed in storage. Before we move on, however, it’s a good idea to look at today’s feast and reflect upon what it signifies.
The Baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of His public ministry. It was an act of humility that, while not being necessary due to His lack of original sin, showed The Lord’s willingness to be “one of us”. It is a great example of the humility of Jesus who, “though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:6-8)
As we meditate on the Baptism of Jesus, it is good to ponder our own baptism. When we are baptized we become part of the mystical Body of Christ. This incorporation into the Body of Christ is symbolized at Mass when the priest adds a few drops of water to the wine and prays, “By the mystery of the water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” We should always be grateful for this privilege and remember that it is due solely to the merit of Jesus Christ.
In the past few days, we’ve reflected on the virtue of humility and its importance to Christianity. In striving to imitate the humility of Christ, we should recall that we are the few drops of water that gets incorporated to the chalice of wine and not vice versa. While God expects us to work as hard as possible to advance His Kingdom, we must always be mindful that eternal life in Heaven is not something we can earn. If we try our best to follow the teachings of Christ as presented by His Catholic Church, we can be hopeful to one day hear The Father repeat the words that He first spoke at the Baptism of Jesus:
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”