“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” These are the words that we hear close out today’s Gospel. This was the proclamation and affirmation given to John the Baptist, letting him know that this was in fact, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah for whom he was a messenger, for whom John’s entire existence was to proclaim.
Why did the Father declare His pleasure with the Son?
Well, one of the reasons I think He did was: He knew the Son’s purpose, and the role He would play in saving His people. This would also affirm for John that the One he was preparing people for had come. By our baptism we take on the Life of Christ and His mission, no less than Christ did by coming into the world and stepping into the Baptismal waters (this is by Jesus’ design and desire and if we believe that, this doesn’t diminish the Son of God, but increases the holy life we aspire to).
While John was baptizing, as we know it was a baptism of repentance, a washing away of sins in a symbolic and ordinary sense, an importance sense but it’s not a baptism like the one we share in Christ. So what does that mean?
If we live the Life of Christ, we share in all aspects of His life, and in the extraordinary and supernatural sense.
And while we are given this life and we can’t earn or deserve it – God’s sincerest hope is that we will accept that life and live for Christ. As we celebrate today the Baptism of the Lord, this is a good time for each of us to pause and consider the gift we’ve been given and for those possibly listening who haven’t been baptized, to consider asking for the gift, a gift for each and every one of us. It’s good for us to reflect upon the gift and what we have done with that gift.
As a Vocation Director, I spend a lot of my time working with those among us who are in the process of responding to that gift through their vocation; discerning a religious vocation. But whether our vocation is the religious life, priesthood, marriage or to remain singularly dedicated to Christ – our baptism gives us a purpose; a purpose many of us are on a journey to discover.
Since we Catholics are normally baptized as infants, we don’t remember the day we were baptized. I was baptized as an adult, so I feel blessed in one way to remember that day and I celebrate it each year and as a priest who baptized many, I read over the words of the Baptismal Rite and ponder again and again that moment.
I recommend this for all of us [it’s easy to get the Rite online]. When I celebrate Baptism, I almost always use these words: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Speaking to families, I remind all those who bring children to the font that God declares these words to His sons and daughters for the same reason He declared them to His Only Begotten Son – love and hope. He offers them to us as He loves us with the unbridled and passionate love that saw Him give up His Son to save us and He offers them with hope: that He who delivers and makes good on every promise ever made, desires that we seek to respond in kind. May God bless you.