A Precious Blood Christmas, Baptism
Sr. Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS
The Baptism of the Lord: Matt 3:13-17
January 12, 2020
This Sunday is a special one: it marks the end of the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany seasons and is also the First Sunday in Ordinary Time. This Sunday serves a double function, and we can detect a double function occurring in the gospel as well. First, there is a transition from the Nativity that we have been celebrating these past weeks to a focus on why Jesus came. Jesus is now an adult and has come to his cousin John for baptism. Rightly, John questions this: shouldn’t it be the other way around? Jesus says that John’s baptizing him is “fitting.” How so? It marks Jesus as wholly within John’s tradition—Jesus is a Jewish man. But he is more than that. So second, there is an announcement of identity: Jesus is the “beloved Son” of God in whom God is “well pleased.” Pleased about what? God is pleased that Jesus brings a new covenant that is a whole new relationship with God. Jesus opens the door to a new way of living: in the “Spirit of God,” this Spirit who gives us a share in divine Life.
Our own Baptism is as revealing for us as Jesus’ baptism was revealing of him. Through Baptism we are plunged into Christ’s saving Mystery. We receive a new identity, that of brothers and sisters in Christ, that of being members of his very Body. Baptism allows us to have a new relationship with God, one of intimate love. It allows us to have a new relationship with each other grounded in the shared divine Life we receive. Precious Blood Spirituality powerfully captures the reality of our identity. Our living it is living our baptismal identity with Christ’s death and Resurrection. Baptism is a call to live as God wishes, that is, to be faithful, beloved sons and daughters in whom God is “well pleased.” Do we hear the call? Do we respond as God desires?