Feast Of The Baptism Of The Lord
Here the homily delivered by Fr. Antonius Firmansyah SJ on January 12. His reflections could serve as an excellent guide for us to live the Liturgical Year 2020 with consciousness of the deeper meaning and challenge of the Sacrament of Baptism
During Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and a voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In the first reading from Isaiah we can also hear the voice of the Lord similarly saying, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit.” Recognizing this similarity, we can see how Jesus’ baptism is related with God’s promise of the Savior, the One who will deliver God’s Spirit unto us.
John the Baptist thought that Jesus did not need to receive baptism. But for Jesus, receiving baptism from John the Baptist became the starting point of the work of the Spirit in spreading the Good News. Jesus’ ministry throughout Galilea initiated after his Baptism was the ministry of the Spirit. This is how Jesus’ baptism transformed John’s baptism. This is also how Jesus’ baptism gives a deeper meaning to the baptism we also have received.
Jesus’ baptism transformed our baptism from a mere act of showing one’s initiation into a particular religious group, into an active participation in God’s loving Spirit in our lives. With Jesus’ baptism, our baptism became more than just a onetime event. The baptism of Christ reminds us of our commitment to answer to God’s loving Spirit descended upon us. God is willing to pour down the power of the Spirit upon us because God loves us. And our answer to this call to love should be modeled on Jesus’ own ministry of curing people and telling the Good News.
Let us reflect now on our own life as baptized persons. What does this mean for us who have received baptism, for us who baptize our children, for us who became godparents for other people who receive baptism? This means that when we are involved in the event of baptism, we are involving ourselves in making God’s call to love become as concrete as possible. When we baptize our children or become godparents, we say yes to becoming the actualization of God’s love to our baptized children or friends.
The real challenge for us Christians in this world is to find the meaning of baptism right in the midst of being modern people living in a modern world. Our baptism is not a guarantee that our life will always create an instant change for the better. A good change comes about slowly because it comes from within. Our baptism makes us believe in that power of the Spirit who wants to love us unconditionally and at the same time guides us little by little to become true men and women of God.
When this world tells us that God’s love is far from being real because of so much misery in this world, we are the ones who should testify about how we, inspired by God’s unconditional love, are trying to answer those miseries of this world.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in this celebration of the feast of the Baptism of Jesus, let us remember that call to love the way God loves us. Let us find that in our baptism we are answering that call to follow Jesus in his own ministry of love in this world.
(Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17)