posted on January 06, 2015 17:53
This weekend, we recall how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by his cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus transformed John's simple water ritual from one of repentance to one of repentance and reconciliation by "water and the Spirit" (John 3:5). It was not the waters that changed Jesus but Jesus that changed the waters. Now every time someone is baptized "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," they are transformed by God's grace into "a new creation" (Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:17).
At the moment of our own baptism several things happened to us: (1) we were washed free of original sin; (2) we were adopted as spiritual sons and daughters of the Father in heaven, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of an heir to the kingdom; (3) we became members of the institutional Catholic Church; and (4) we became members of the Body of Christ.
We must see ourselves differently, with a new identity. We now can call God our "Father," since we are his children. Our true home is in heaven, where the "Father has prepared a place" for us (John 14:2), thus we are pilgrims on a journey, aliens in this foreign land and fallen world.
If we try to live a worldly life, then we are denying our baptismal birthright. In the end, we cannot belong to "God and mammon" (Luke 16:13). We must choose to live out our identity, as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.
One day we shall meet our Father face-to-face. Any time we spend praying (especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament) is our way of talking with God who has claimed us as his own. The more we get to know him now, the more we are able to experience his friendship and fatherhood with us. Then we can hear the same words spoken from above: "Behold my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
~ Fr. Aaron Kuhn