The Baptism of the Lord ends the Christmas season. During this great season, we reflected on the simple question: who is this child born in Bethlehem? On Christmas day, we learned from the shepherds that the child in Bethlehem is the Son of Mary; but his father is unknown. On Epiphany, the magi come to adore Jesus as the newborn “king of the Jews” and kneel down and worship him, offering gifts to the king, priest, and sacrifice of the world; but they do not know who crowned or anointed Jesus as the king.
And today, at the Baptism of the Lord, we finally have an answer to these questions in a single declaration from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus is truly human, the Son of Man born from Mary; but he is the eternally-begotten and uncreated Son of God. Jesus is the king, priest, and sacrifice who will rule and redeem the world; but he is crowned and anointed by his heavenly Father with the Holy Spirit. Today, Jesus reveals at his baptism who he is at the core of his being: he is the Son of God who comes to do the Father’s will. Jesus alone has seen the Father’s face because Jesus is the Son.
And this is what Jesus came to do to us. Jesus came in order to let us see our heavenly Father’s face not on this earth but in heaven. To do this, Jesus comes as our brother who immerses himself in our sins and filth, without becoming a sinner, in order to cleanse us and to make us sons and daughters of the Father. In other words, he chooses to be our brother so we may be adopted as sons and daughters of God. We become by adoption what he is by nature: a son/daughter in the Son.
It’s not a bad idea on the Baptism of the Lord to reflect on our own baptism. At baptism we become sons and daughters of God. Nothing we do can change this fact of faith because God is true to his promise. If he says we are his son or daughter we are his son or daughter. Period.
But do we live our lives in such a way that we reflect Christ’s own sonship, a humble sonship that obeys the Father’s will? Do we live our lives in such a way that the Father can say he is pleased with us, in a way that is in harmony with our baptismal promises? I ask this because at the end of our lives the only thing that matters, the only thing we will want, is to hear our heavenly Father say to us the words he spoke to his Son our Lord Jesus Christ today: “you are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Joseph Yuson – St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta
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