11 January 2015
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
The baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan which he received from John the Baptist occurred at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. This was a defining moment for Jesus, for it marked the inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. By accepting the baptism that John preached, Jesus allowed himself to be numbered among sinful mankind, even though he was without sin. He already was the “Lamb of God” who came to take away the sins the world.
A brief manifestation of God, or Epiphany occurred at the moment of Jesus’ baptism. God revealed himself as a Trinity of persons. The voice of the Father was heard from heaven at the moment when his Son Jesus received baptism and then the Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, who descended upon him. In this brief revelation of the Trinity, we can understand through faith that Jesus truly comes from God and is God. That he is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and that this is the way that God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind.
The voice that came from the heavens, was addressed first of all to Jesus: You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. Yet these wonderful words were spoken not only to Jesus, but are also addressed to all of us at the time of our baptism. In these words are found the essence and meaning of baptism, which is the moment when we become a beloved child of God, born not only to a physical life, but also to a spiritual and eternal life. Living our lives therefore, as a beloved child of God, believing in our hearts that we have a Father in heaven who created us and sustains us, that we have a Son who paid the price for our salvation, and that we have received the Holy Spirit for our sanctification, is the task of every Christian.
An ancient Church author Pseudo-Hippolytus, once wrote on Baptism: “Whoever goes down into these waters of rebirth with faith renounces the devil and pledges himself to Christ. He repudiates the enemy and confesses that Christ is God, throws off his servitude and becomes an adopted son. He comes up from baptism resplendent as the sun and radiating purity and, above all, he comes as a son of God and a co-heir with Christ”.
The Lord God who created us through the love of our parents and sanctified us as his children at our baptism, assures us that we are truly his children and he truly is our Father. And what the Lord God asks of his beloved sons and daughters is that He be the love of our life. In other words, that he who is Love be loved! Let us open our hearts to our heavenly Father’s love, allow his Holy Spirit to descend upon on us from heaven every day in our prayer and follow the path that his Son Jesus has show us, so that we might have life to the full and be co-heirs with Christ!