The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus accepted the baptism of John in order that the demands of righteousness be fulfilled. (See Mt 3:13-17) What does this mean? Perhaps it finds its meaning in the words form the voice in heaven, ‘you are my Son the Beloved; my favor rests on you.’ Here the voice of the Father is heard to confirm the identity of Jesus as His Son as well as to affirm that Jesus has His blessing in the ministry that he is about to begin following His baptism.

I think that there may also be a connection between these words concerning righteousness and its fulfillment and the sacrament of Baptism that will become the entry point for all into the Church and the life of righteousness that this involves. In other words, Jesus baptism in the waters of the Jordan River serves to sanctify the waters of baptism from this time forward as not just waters that cleanse us of our sins but also as waters that are the source of the new life of righteousness that we are called to live in the power of eth Holy Spirit!

When Jesus submits himself to the Baptism of John it cannot be in order to cleanse himself of His sins because He is sinless! It must, therefore, have another reason. Elsewhere in the Gospels we hear Jesus speaking about His baptism in terms of a baptism of fire (Lk 12:48). This is clearly a reference to His passion and death where John’s Gospel reports to us that both blood and water flow from the side of Jesus. The blood signifies the forgiveness of our sins and the water, the new life that we are called to live under the auspices of our baptism.

Jesus’ baptism is the opening of the doors of grace to a new life for all those who are baptized. This new life is a life where our sins are forgiven and where we are called to live under the power of the Holy Spirit as redeemed men and women.

What do I understand to be the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism in my life? Have I ever really thought about this? Maybe I need to find out more about the meaning of my Baptism. If so, try the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213-1284.

Lord, my baptism was so long ago I cannot remember it. Help me to appropriate the graces given to me then so that I can be a more faithful disciple of yours now!