This feast ends the season of Christmas. The purpose of his feast is twofold namely to explain the importance in the four Gospels of the Lord’s Baptism and to encourage you to carry out a similar mission of holiness, prayer and service to others. How will you respond to an invitation to do missionary work? This question is at the heart of the Gospel reading of today where we find God the Holy Trinity preparing Christ for his mission. Last week we celebrated Epiphany, or manifestation of the new born Christ to the world. Now the adult Christ is being manifested to the whole world by the whole Trinity. In the Gospel reading, three lessons can be learnt from Jesus’ Baptism namely the meaning of Jesus’ baptism, the nature of his mission and his mission as committed to you.
First, the meaning of Jesus’ baptism contains such depths of lowliness and heights of exaltation too difficult to comprehend. Surely you noted that John refused to baptize Jesus, as if it would demean Jesus to accept his baptism. But Jesus insisted, saying, “We must do this if we will fulfill all of God’s demands. Therefore, the baptism of Jesus was willed by God. Was Jesus sinful? No, his baptism was not for the forgiveness of his sins but it was meant to sanctify the waters of baptism; to consecrate the Jordan to be a symbol of all the water of baptism to be used through history to baptize all members into himself.
Second, the baptism of the Lord reveals the nature of Jesus’ mission. The prophetic utterance of Isaiah in the first reading stunningly describes it. Though you know Jesus is the Son of God, His father’ own witness, he comes as God’s obedient servant. He is the brilliant light of the nations, tender hearted redeemer sent to give light to your eyes and freedom to your lives. You must better understand Jesus’ words to John “He must do whatever the father wants”. Such is your call too, to do the will of God because in his will you will find your peace.
Finally, in Jesus’ baptism, we see Jesus’ mission committed to us. You like Jesus has been baptized into Christ; an extension of his incarnation and commission to carry on his work. Therefore, you share in Jesus’ mission of holiness, prayer, and the service that leads all to salvation. How do you learn God’s will? From Jesus who is the way, you learn true obedience and true good. You imitate his life, read the Scriptures, and listen to the teachings of his Church explaining God’s word according to Christ’s will. Then you will show in action that you have truly seen the light of Christ radiant in today’s Gospel and have walked by that light all the way to glory.