Fr Thomas’ Message for the Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of the Lord

In September 2018, when I was in Jerusalem for a Bible study, I visited the place of Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan.  It was at Qasr al-Yahud (tower of the Jews), bordering the Kingdom of Jordan.  On the other side of the river which was small but famous, was the Orthodox monastery.  Military personnel with powerful guns were guarding the international border, a rope running through the middle of the water between the two countries.  The banks of the river were only a few meters apart.  We were not to deviate from the designated path to the riverbank for the fear of any un-cleared landmines from the six day war in 1967.  Even in this uneasy situation people were flocking there.  Many of the pilgrims got into the muddy water to re-enact the ritual of baptism for its historical and spiritual significance.  What is the significance of Jesus’ baptism?

Jesus, the Son of God, did not require a baptism that marked repentance.  Yet he humbled himself and sought baptism from John to identify himself with the people who were repentant of their sins.  That is who Jesus is, God incarnate who is with us. When Jesus came out of the water, there was a revelation from heaven that he is the beloved Son of God.

Through our own baptism, you and I are called to be children of God, not just children, but the beloved of God.  The pilgrims walking through the reminders of war and hostility to get to Jordan River, because they were the beloved of God, make me reflect on how God has adopted me also as his beloved.  No adversities thrown at us by the world shall stop us celebrating the joy of being God’s beloved.  It would help you to do so, if you can identify the milestone in your life that helped you discover your status as the beloved of God and other persons.  

It is the descent of the Holy Spirit that declared Jesus as the beloved Son of God.  Are you aware of the Holy Spirit coming on you, enabling you to produce the fruits of the Spirit which have made you pleasing to God and to the people?  The fruits of the Spirit at work in you will bring greater hope and joy to the people who could be your dear and near ones.  There is no greater joy than being the beloved of God and the witness to the people.