The Baptism of the Lord
The given life
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Mt 3,13-17
The scene of the baptism of Jesus is the preamble which frames and anticipates all his earthly life. He, although sinless, was in line with the sinners to receive the purification baptism administered by John, while announcing the death of the old man and the beginning of the new life. “who did not know sin – says Paul – so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2Cor 5,21). As to his death “the veil of the temple was torn down the middle” (Lk 23,45), now the sky is torn and the Spirit descends upon him: it is the proclamation of his coming as the Messiah. By the baptism in the Jordan, Jesus devoted his life to the obedience to God and to the love for the men. It is the mystery of the incarnation which is confiirmed again in the baptism. It is a great event. It remembers to us what the parents do: generate the sons, train them and accompany them in the life until they walk with their legs and then support them with the prayer for the remainder of their days. That is what the missionaries, who devote their life to the spreading of the gospel, do as well as the social workers who fully espouse the cause of the poor people, and the physicians, like Dr. Moscati, who devote with all their physical and spiritual energy to the care of the sick persons. Even our life, whatever is the project which the Lord has entrusted to us, can be experienced as a consecration to the God’s will. The event of the baptism of Jesus is the exaltation of the spirit of service and the condemnation of the whole desire for self-affirmation, of any aspiration for domination and possession. It is the sign of the given life.