The Lord’s Baptism
The Lord’s baptism, which we celebrate today, is symbolic of the Father’s approval of His Son’s ministry of preaching the good News of Salvation that would culminate in His passion, death and resurrection. When Christ submitted Himself to be baptized by John in the Jordan River, God’s stamp of approval was executed by the symbolism of a dove and a voice from above which said, “This is my Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.”
From the scene of the baptism of Jesus, we learn this important lesson: the only thing that really matters is to hear God tell us: “You are my beloved Son. On you my favor rests.” Once we really believe this, we can face the unknown with a peaceful heart. As it is said: “We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”
The celebration of the Lord’s baptism makes us reflect on the need to ask God to consider or approve what we plan to do with our respective lives. It speaks of the need to submit ourselves and our decisions to God’s clearance. It makes us consider seriously the need to get God’s opinion on what we undertake or do on a daily basis, giving our life and acts a kind of stamp of approval from the Almighty Father. What does God think or feel about what I am doing? If Christ would have to do the things I am concerned with, how would He go about them? These are questions that are disturbing enough to make us reflect on how much we really mean when we pray on a daily basis “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
The Lord’s baptism demonstrates that His approach is perfectly personal and realistic which we have to emulate. Our personal desire to ask God what He thinks or feels about our life and acts is the beginning of an authentic, personal spirituality that can be a solid basis for our life as a Christian and as a member of our faith community. Our daily dialogue with God has to deal with the things that are deep within our hearts including our faults and frustrations. The sacraments and the other rites of our respective religions can be formal and solemn opportunities for such an ongoing personal dialogue. In the last analysis, our personal approach to God becomes the basis of our religion of our attitude towards people, events and things. Our coming to worship becomes more meaningful when it is the result of our deep personal relationship with our Savior. Institutional religion cannot produce or induce this personal aspect of our faith without our own individual effort to encounter Christ in our daily experience.