Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:13-17)
Today, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we formally close the Christmas Season. Tomorrow begins Ordinary Time.
Some people might wonder why we include this feast in the Christmas Season. After all, Jesus was baptized around the age of thirty when he began his public ministry. Certainly, that is a long way removed from His birth.
While that might be true, we need to ask ourselves the question: For what was Jesus born? Was He born just to be a baby that Magi could visit? Was He born just to be presented in the Temple?
No. He was born so that He might suffer, die, and rise from the dead so that we would have the opportunity to return home at the end of our days. He was born to destroy death and restore life.
In order to do that, Jesus had to accept His mission.
John the Baptist found that out the hard way. He thought he was doing the mission God gave to him. John was baptizing people in the Jordan in order to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. John knew in his heart that Jesus was “the one who was to come” and John had real problems when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism. We heard the interchange between the two in today’s Gospel passage. Jesus told John, “Allow it now…”
John baptized Jesus in the Jordan and Jesus’ public ministry took off. It led, in a few short years, to Calvary, to a tomb, and to resurrection three days later.
We were baptized for a reason as well. As the stain of original sin was washed from our souls, we became pristine children of God, endowed with a mission. God has called us to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. One of our jobs is to discern what it is that God calls us to do. Once we discern that, we need to do it.
We might be like John. We might be telling God that we are not worthy, that we should not do what is being asked of us.
Think again. God has a role for each and every one of us. Take it up and be fulfilled this day.
FAITH ACTION: Have you been struggling with God’s will for you lately? Is there something that you feel you need to do or say but are reluctant? “Allow it now” and embrace God’s will for you.