The Gospel depicts John baptizing Jesus with water, and the Spirit baptizing Jesus. Yet John had no problem being the messenger of faith for Jesus. He was very devout in his faith and knew what his role was. Many Jews were actively seeking a messiah, and he was quick to let them know that he was not the one for whom they were waiting. “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” As John humbly carried out this mission and Jesus accepted this simple baptism by John, the Holy Spirit indeed came down upon Jesus, and God proclaimed for the first time, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Thus Jesus began his formal ministry.
How many times do we witness baptism in the parish? The priest ministers with simple elements of water and oil, but the Spirit is called down each time. Every time we
participate, we are experiencing the message, experiencing the call again. How many times have we blessed ourselves with holy water, or participated in a sprinkling rite? Yet in these days, when church fonts are empty due to safety precautions, we need to remember those other times, trust in God, and sing the prayer of Isaiah in our hearts about drawing the water joyfully. We must trust in the message. We must become the message of God’s saving action through our baptism and our lives.
Msgr. Elvin Sunds