By Michael Pirri
“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.”
Just before the point where today’s Gospel begins, John the Baptist remarks that he baptizes ‘for repentance’. Christ, a man with no sin, shows great humility in approaching John in the river. It is a sign that he is fully human – just like us, he encounters the Holy Spirit at baptism.
Most of us are fortunate that we are able to receive the sacrament of baptism as infants; this initial encounter not only marks our cleansing from original sin, but we are also sealed with the chrism by having the sign of the cross made on our foreheads. If baptism is the first encounter with Christ, how are we meant to build upon this foundation? How do we foster relationships with people in our lives?
Communication is the cornerstone to all great relationships. With friends and family, we can see the fruits of frequent communication borne out. Equally important is an efficiency in communication; a healthy dialogue involves both actively listening and participating. It is no wonder that these are also the words used when discussing how the faithful ought to participate in the Mass: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people, is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium n.14)
Isaiah 42.1-4, 6-7