Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrating that moment when Christ began His ministry in this world, as the official beginning of His works, by the baptism which He took through John the Baptist, His herald and messenger, the one sent to prepare the way for Him. This is also to set the precedent for all of us the faithful, we who have received the holy seal of baptism as the mark and sign of divine favour, our Lord’s love for us.
On this feast day, all of us should be thinking about our own baptism, and remember the day when we were baptised, be it as a young infant newly born, or as a teenager or an adult, or even in our waning years, as we made the crucial and good decision of taking up the Lord’s cross and chose to follow Him as His disciples. We should all remember that day, when we are brought to the presence of God, and in His presence, we were sealed with the holy waters of baptism, marked as the children and possessions of our Lord.
And with that, Satan and his allies, the forces of darkness and this world no longer has power and authority over us, and they since that moment are not able to harm us anymore, for the Lord is ever before us, destroying all those who seek harm for us, His children and His beloved people. And baptism is also a pivotal moment, when our sins, the chains of the original sins of mankind, the disobedience our ancestors had shown to the Lord, are removed from us.
Sin is the tool that Satan is using to enslave us all mankind and prevent us from finding our way to the Lord. Sin is the means by which Satan tempts us to walk in his rebellious ways and turn against God, and baptism is meant to sever our connections and indeed our chains, the chains of our enslavement by sin. This is why we have to remember our own baptism, and for those among us who still seek the baptism of the Lord, then we have to put our entire heart’s focus on it. Because through baptism, we who were wicked and deserved death have been brought into the new hope of new life in Christ.
God is forever faithful and loving to us, and thus He shall never abandon us to destruction. It is we who have forsaken our Lord, who cares for us and the only One to show us true love. Therefore He made that act of love, of ultimate love, by the sending of His Son into the world, that through Him, the baptism He offers mankind, and through His loving sacrifice on the cross, the ultimate act of obedience to the will of God.
In the first reading of today from the book of the prophet Isaiah, God reaffirmed this love which He has for us, and called us back to Himself. He did not desire to punish us or to destroy us, unless if we ourselves want to be destroyed and rejected because we refused His generous offer of love, forgiveness and mercy. It was told that we should seek the Lord while we still can, and while it is not yet too late, and indeed, that is what we all ought to do.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us who have received the Sacrament of Baptism in the Church ought to rejoice, for it had indeed not been too late for us. We have made that solemn and crucial decision of choosing the Lord over that of Satan and the world, and we were baptised in the Faith, and became the children of God. We surely have heard of those who prefer to postpone their baptism until the last minute, that is until death is knocking at the door.
But, those who did so failed to see, that firstly, we have no control or knowledge over what our fate will be in the days, months and years to come. We know only of the past we had, and the present in which we all live in. Only God knows what we are to face, and therefore, we should not wait until it is too late. There are certainly cases of those who delayed until the last minute, and when death comes without their knowledge, sudden and unexpected, only eternal regret and suffering will remain with them forever in hell.
Therefore, on this feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are all reminded that we should take our baptism seriously. Baptism is not just a one-off event after which we have no need to be concerned anymore with it and progress on with our own respective lives. Baptism is just the beginning, brethren, that is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, the chapter of our life as the children of God and as the members of His Church.
Baptism is the beginning of our journey of faith together with God, and also together with all the members of the Church, with the Pope, the bishops and the priests, and with every single one of those who have been accepted into the Church, that is baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe that faith alone and baptism alone does not bring about salvation, as these require action and genuine effort for us to achieve it.
Baptism is like the reset button, which resets our life once again back to the zero point, and it is also like an eraser, providing us with a clean slate from which to begin anew. In the ceremony of the Sacrament of Baptism, all of us or our godparents made the profession of the Faith together and affirm our rejection of all of Satan’s lies and temptations, and this is the moment when we abandon our old lives filled with sin and embrace the new life offered by the Lord.
Yes, brethren, a life no longer filled with wanton desires, greed or selfishness, a life no longer filled by jealousy, lies and falsehoods, but from then on, from the moment of our baptism, we have a new life, a life following the teachings and the ways of our Lord, as He had revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ. This feast of His Baptism by John today is a remarkable event, when God revealed yet again to the world, the truth which He was bringing through Christ.
Why do we believe in the Holy Trinity, brothers and sisters? That is because at that baptism in the Jordan, we see the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit together as One unity, God inseparable and yet three in aspects. The Father affirms the Son, while the Son is in the world, doing the will of the Father, and the Spirit is the mover of all things. All three united in perfect harmony, and through John who witnessed all the events, He proclaimed Himself to the world.
This is God who has loved us so much that He is willing to send His own Son to us, so that we may be saved. And by that baptism we witnessed today we know that through the same baptism, we have experienced the same event of that day in the Jordan, sharing with Christ the grace of God. Just as Jesus Christ the Son received from the Lord God the Father the affirmation, that He is the Son, His Beloved, therefore all of us also share in the same kinship as Christ, being all made as the sons and daughters of God.
And now that we have been made the children of God through baptism, do we take it easy and continue to live our lives as we had lived before our baptism? Of course not! Imagine that if we live as we have lived before, with wickedness and vices, with selfishness and greed, then who will believe that we are the children of God? No one will believe that we belong to the Lord, but instead we belong to Satan and his allies, and though we have received baptism and be cleansed from our sins, but the sins we commit afterwards will be our undoing.
As long as we walk in this world, in our mortal flesh, we will always be prone and vulnerable to sin. Therefore we must be ever vigilant and be careful as we live in this world, that we sin no more or at least we must learn to restrain the urge and the temptation to sin again. It is part of the cross we have to carry as the followers of Christ, to resist the temptations of Satan. After all, brethren, remember that Christ our Lord was also tempted?
He was tempted in His humanity in every way we have been tempted, with greed, fame, power and praise, but He triumphed, to show that there is indeed a way out of sin, and that it is possible to say no to Satan and reject him. And His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection shows that sin and death does not have the final say on us mankind. All those who believe in Jesus and all of His teachings, and who accept to be baptised as He had commanded His Church to do, shall be saved and be freed from the fate of eternal death and suffering.
Now what remains is for us all to make ourselves truly worthy children of God. As I have mentioned, baptism is the new beginning for us, and from then on we have to prove that we stay faithful to the Lord. Our faith cannot be one that is passive and superficial, as faith without good works, as St. James mentioned in his epistle, is essentially dead.
Therefore today, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this feast and celebration of our Lord Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan, let us all remember our own baptism, and if we were too young to remember it, then let us all seek those who have the memories of that event, such as our godparents and parents. This is so that we can remember the promise which we or our godparents had made on our behalf, the promise of resistance and rejection of all of Satan’s falsehoods and lies.
And lastly, let today be a reminder for us all as well, that we have a duty and mission to carry out as a baptised member of the Church. Jesus before He ascended to heaven leave one last mission to His Apostles, a mission that is still ongoing even today. He commanded them to go to all the ends of the earth preaching the Good News and calling on all the peoples to repent and follow the Lord, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Thus, let us all begin if we have not begun, to live according to our faith and according to what we believe in Jesus. Let us all from now on walk the talk, and truly mean what we preach. No one will believe us or follow us in the way of Christ, no matter how good we preach to them, if we ourselves do not show that faith in our lives, in our words, our deeds and actions.
Hence, let us all do the will of God by showing faith in our daily actions, and through that, let us reaffirm the profession of faith we made at our baptism, rejecting Satan in all of his lies and wickedness. God bless us all. Amen.
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