SOLEMNITY OF THE LORD’S BAPTISM
The Lord’s baptism is revelatory in nature. It revealed who Jesus was through the manifestation of the Father and the Holy Spirit which we call “Trinitarian theophany”. It happened before Jesus embarked on his public ministry. The same manifestation would occur again towards the end of the public ministry of Jesus in the Transfiguration. Between these two theophanies was Jesus’ proclamation of God’s Kingdom through his words and works.
During his baptism before his public ministry, Jesus was affirmed by the Father of his identity: “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” As we enter into the simplicity of this season, we are also reminded of the profound reality of our true identity given to us when we were baptized: an adopted child of God. During our baptism the Father was saying to us personally “You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased.”
It was important to Jesus to accept his identity which would be the reservoir of his power during his public ministry. During his intimate moments with his Father in prayer, Jesus would go back again and again to that special moment when he heard his Father’s voice. In fact he needed to hear the same voice again during the Transfiguration before he could carry on the most painful days of his earthly life.
During this ordinary season, like Jesus we carry in our hearts the Father’s voice so that whatever happens to us this year, we believe that the Father will always be there for us the way he was with Jesus all the time. It means that we are ready to accept the different theophanies of God in our life. We welcome him as he manifests himself to us in life or in death, in pain or in joy, in the sunshine or in the rain, in light or in darkness, in good times and in bad. These are the many facets of life which reveal to us the many faces of God. We just have to be ready to accept his creative surprises in our life.
Our baptism is both a gift and a responsibility. As a gift, we have become adopted children of God! We call him our Father and we are heirs of the Kingdom! As a responsibility, we witness a Christian life, a life which is patterned after Jesus, his Son.
As a child of God, I am God’s beloved! It is my greatest identity!