The Holiness of Baptism

January 12, 2020

On this feast day we are invited to look at the significance of Baptism and what it means to us.  When Jesus was Baptized in the River Jordan, John the Baptist was hesitant.  Jesus, understanding the importance of this event, convinces John to perform the usual ritual that he had been doing to hundreds as they came to hear him preach in the desert and on the shore of the river.  In the midst of this, the heavens are opened and the Holy Spirit descends, and a voice acknowledges the belovedness of the Son.  In this experience the Trinity comes together, in this moment the holiness of the mission of Jesus is supported by the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.

On the day of our Baptism we are claimed by God.  On the day a child or adult is Baptized, the entire Trinity shares its holiness in the grace of the Sacrament.  This claiming by God is significant.  By being claimed we are told we belong.  When we experience belonging, we can truly grow as a person of faith and as a marked soul for God.  John the Baptist called for repentance, he gathered and challenged the people of biblical times to renounce their sin.  At the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism, we also renounce sin and state our belief.  Original sin is washed clean and sacramental grace with the power of the Trinity takes hold of our being.  This belonging is to convince us, bring us confidence as well as shower us with God’s love.

Holiness comes from the realization of the power of the Trinity.  This happened when Jesus experienced the voice of the Father, and the descending of the Holy Spirit.   Holiness is not anything we earn, rather it is a gift, a gift shared freely from our God.  Once given in faith, it is up to us to develop this gift, cherish it and allow it to transform our lives. Today we are offered to renew ourselves in the holiness of Baptism, which happened for some long ago and for others just at the last Easter Vigil.  The significance of this Sacrament changes life forever.  We are called to reflect and ponder what it means to be claimed by God, what it means to be so loved that original sin is washed clean, so loved that we possess the promise of eternal life.

May the good work begun in us in Baptism find fulfillment and significance every day of our lives.

Reverend  John J. Ouper