Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


By Emily VanBerkum

Today as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, our parish community joyfully welcomes some of the children baptized in 2015- along with their parents and Godparents- for a special blessing at the 10:30am Mass followed by lunch and fellowship. This reunion invites these families to recall the many ways they have been transformed by Baptism and participation in the sacramental life.

The gift of baptism initiates our relationship with Christ and we are forever transformed by God’s grace. Through baptism, we are welcomed into a context that makes us especially apt to see, touch, taste, and hear things that draw us closer to God. John baptized Jesus as he baptized many others that day. But something about Jesus’ baptism was transformative. As Jesus prayed “the heaven was opened” and a great theophany occurred, “the Holy Spirit descended upon him…like a dove and a voice came down from heaven.” All who witnessed this encounter were changed. In an audible way, booming down from the heavens, God was made known to the people and an intimate relationship with a “beloved” Son was established. Through baptism we recreate this divine encounter: we become especially attuned to hear God’s voice as it invites us to share in this relationship.

When I have the great privilege of meeting new parents (or parents once again) as they prepare their child for baptism in our parish, I am overjoyed by their sense of excitement and openness to a time of inevitable change in their lives. Like Jesus, through our baptism, we become transformed people. Welcomed into a community of believers wherein the seeds of faith are planted, we receive tangible signs of God’s love and grace. These tangible signs help us grow in relationship to God and others long after the day of our baptism.

Although we may not remember the details, our individual baptisms marked the beginning of our personal faith journeys. How we tell our story depends on how we hear God’s voice drawing us into relationship. Are we willing to be transformed by God’s will for us?

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 42. 1-4, 6-7

Acts 10.34-38

Luke 3.15-16, 21-22