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Ever New Grace of Our Baptism

A Reflection of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

by Fr. DJ Garcia, CJM

Jesus came for us all. Although sinless, Jesus came to receive the baptism of repentance proclaimed by John the Baptist, not so much for his own sake but for ours. He went into the waters to be in solidarity with sinful humanity. In effect, he tells us sinners, “I will live where you live. I will go through what you go through. I will be with you. I am on your side.”

Jesus’ baptism is a public manifestation of the relationship that already exists—his oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit. His baptism ushers the beginning of his public ministry. Empowered by the Spirit, he was sent out on his mission of proclaiming the good news of God’s love and salvation offered to all, as will be manifested in his own words and deeds that will include his passion, death and resurrection. Not only was Jesus being called publicly on His mission, but his very own identity, as the Father’s Beloved Son is affirmed.

Today’s feast is an invitation for us baptized, to revisit our baptism. On that momentous day, receiving the Holy Spirit, we are sent to share in the mission of Christ as priest, prophet and king; so too, are we acclaimed by God—“You are my beloved son/daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” We started life blessed by God, graced by the Spirit of his love and by the word of his favor. We were too young to appreciate what was happening to us at the time. Nor did we appreciate the gifts that we received. It will take time for us to value and be grateful for it.

The Holy Spirit that God poured out upon us at baptism continues to work deep within us throughout our lives. The words God spoke to us back then, God continues to speak to us every day of our lives-- ‘You are my beloved son/ daughter;” While God’s love for us is ever constant and unchanging, can we say that he is well pleased with the way we are living out our lives and baptismal promises? Could we still believe in our being God’s beloved despite our failures and transgressions?

As we have become aware of our imperfections and our inadequacies, we may struggle to believe God’s affirmation to us as his beloved, and even fail to love ourselves. We may equate being God’s beloved with our righteousness and holiness.

As we are God’s children, God loves us personally and nothing will ever stop Him from loving us. We remain God’s beloved despite our unfaithfulness to him. Affirming ourselves as God’s beloved will help us face the challenges of life with hope and perseverance, most especially when we feel broken and unloved.

Let us pray that we would experience anew the grace of our baptism, that the affirmation of being God’s beloved child be enkindled in our hearts and spur us to greater commitment in living out our baptismal calling

May our lives be a continuous epiphany of God’s love and power.

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