As the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, the Body of Christ is invited to not only reflect on the event of Jesus’ Baptism, but also to reflect on the mystery of our own Baptism.
The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry is marked by His baptism. Jesus, standing among sinners though free from all sin Himself, was baptized by John. In sanctifying the waters of the Jordan as the “Beloved Son” and giving them power in the Holy Spirit, Jesus moved from those waters and into His public ministry. We too, in recalling our own baptism, are to be reminded and moved from the water of baptism into true discipleship through our daily lives.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how there are five fruits of Baptism in paragraphs 1262-1274. As the Baptized, we can look at these “fruits” and “graces” to recommit ourselves to the core of our lives, that is, becoming, being, and living as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.
The 5 Fruits Of Baptism
- In Baptism, all sin (both original and personal) is forgiven. After Baptism, committed mortal, serious sins must be confessed. Through Baptism, we “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27) and choose His way. Does our “white garment” remain clean? Do we wrestle with temptation and seek to persevere in holiness? Do our lives reflect the sanctity and purity of Jesus Christ?
- Baptism makes us a new creature, that is, a Child of God, member of Christ (and co-heir with Him), and a temple of the Holy Spirit. If our Baptism has made us new, are we choosing to live and walk as temples of the Holy Spirit in the light of Christ? As a “new creature,” we’re given the gift of grace, participation in the life of God (CCC 1997). We are given the virtues of faith, hope, and love, the ability to live in the Holy Spirit, and the ability to grow in goodness. Do we choose to live as an “old creature,” or as a Child of God, who is created, redeemed, and sanctified by Jesus?
- Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ, the Church. No longer are we alone, but we are united to Jesus and His People, a Body that transcends time, place, and nation. Through Baptism, we become “priests” to offer our sufferings, vocations, work, families, and friendships to God. We become “prophets” to proclaim the Word of God by our lives, words, and deeds. We become “kings” to lead others to Jesus, to truly love (be charitable), and provide for those in need. How can we recommit ourselves to living as Jesus’ priests, prophets, and kings?
- Baptism brings us into communion with Christians. Through Baptism, we share a bond of unity with all those who bear the name Christian, including those who are not yet in full communion with Jesus’ Catholic Church. Mindful of this, we can pray for greater Christian unity; that all of Jesus’ disciples might be fully united in His true Church as one flock with one shepherd. How do we recognize our common bonds with fellow Christians? Do we sincerely live the Catholic life to witness the Gospel and foster greater communion in Jesus’ Church?
- Baptism configures us to Christ, claims us as Christ’s own, and indelibly marks us. Once we are Baptized, we receive an indelible spiritual mark, a “character” on our soul. This seal of the Christian life can never be erased, even if or when falling into sin. Do we strive to proclaim Jesus Christ as our God, our Lord, and our Savior? We have been marked as His forever. Do we believe in Him, all He has revealed, and all that the Church poses for our belief? Do we long for Heaven as our ultimate happiness and trust in Christ’s promises to attain it? Do we love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourself for love of God?
Jesus’ public ministry didn’t stop at the waters of the Jordan. Rather, he moved from the waters into His public ministry. He lived in and confronted the very time He entered into human flesh. He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, cured disease among all people, cast out demons, taught the truth, and brought unity (in the truth) to a divided people in a very specific time.
Like Jesus, on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, we are reminded that we too truly are called to recommit ourselves to our Christian identity. We are called to move from the water to life in the Spirit each and every day of our lives.
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