“This is my Son, the Beloved” Reflection for the feast of Baptism of Our Lord
The gospel story of the baptism of Jesus – especially in the description of St. Matthew – directs our attention to two very important issues in the life of every Christian. Fulfilment of God’s will and the awareness of being His beloved child.
First, Jesus teaches us through dialogue with John the Baptist. John knew who stood before him. He couldn’t understand why He should baptize the Messiah. But Jesus simply finished his deliberations, saying that they have to fulfil all that righteousness demands – that is the will of God. In this way God demonstrates solidarity with sinners. Entering into the river of sin, into human life. Entering the Jordan so as to take human sins on himself.
However, Jesus enters the waters of the Jordan first of all, to reveal to the people their unique relationship with his Father. The scene of the Baptism is also a place of revelation of God as Trinity. A voice from heaven saying This is my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on him is the voice of the Father. The Father shows his Son to the people who came to the Jordan to listen to John the Baptist. Indirectly he presents Jesus as the Messiah – Christ – to all Israel. The dove, which descends on Jesus, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and of love. It is also a sign of God’s mercy. In the Book of Genesis the dove announces the end of the flood. In the Song of Songs, the eyes of the beloved staring on his bride are compared to doves. The dove is a symbol of God’s loving eyes staring at Jesus, it is a symbol of love, which takes the concrete form of the Holy Spirit.
What does this event teach us? That we are all children of God, and that we are loved by a Father, who always cares for us, who is always with us, whatever happens, whatever we do – nothing will change this. God’s fatherhood is love.
Sunday, when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord invites us to return to our baptism, through which we have been brought into the Church. To be baptized is to be a Christian. But Christianity is not only a privilege of talking to God, Our Father, but also a obligation to do His will. Therefore, let our experience of this Sunday awake in us the joy of being a child of God and mobilize us to respond to his call to us. Then, through the mercy of God, each of us will be able to hear: You are my beloved Son…