Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

At the age of twenty-four, right before I entered the Jesuits, my parents and I made a trip to my birthplace of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  One of the most significant sights I beheld there was the Baptismal font where I had become a Christian as an infant.  For me, it was an astounding encounter with the sacramental location of grace that has carried me through the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life.  Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.  Jesus, the Eternal Son, humbly descends into our human condition, into the waters of our life.  The Holy Spirit anoints Him, and the Father pronounces His pleasure with Him.  Heaven itself is literally “opened” for us to see, hear, and feel with Jesus this drama of Trinitarian love poured out.  At the end of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius calls us to consider “how all the good things and gifts descend from above.”  There is perhaps no greater gift than our own Baptism.

Baptism makes us sons and daughters of God.  What a breathtaking identity!  Baptism enables us to be saved, breaking the bonds of death.  If only we could realize the powerful beauty of this Sacrament.  Pope Francis continues to ask Catholics to discover the historical date of their Baptism and to cherish it.  The Holy Father says, “It is important to know the day on which I was immersed in that current of Jesus’ salvation.”  Pope Francis desires that we “bear in mind that most beautiful day of Baptism.” Do you know and celebrate the date of your Baptism?  What difference does being baptized make in your life?  Do you realize the infinite treasure of being a beloved son or daughter of God?  Let us pray to further experience God claiming us as His very own.

January 12th, 2014