Today we commemorate the Baptism of the Lord. In submitting to St. John the Baptist for baptism in the River Jordan, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Baptism. The baptism of St. John was symbolic; people who wanted to change their lives were plunged by him to show that the old self was washed away and that a new life with God has begun. Jesus gives us the first Sacrament. It has been administered by the Church since the day of Pentecost. Baptism is the action of God Himself whereby He washes away sin and makes the baptized person His child. As a child of God, a person has rights: namely, the right to heaven. No one can take away this right except the person himself, and this is done through serious sin, freely committed. But, even here, the right to heaven can be restored through Confession.
The baptized person becomes incorporated into Jesus Christ and therefore a member of the Catholic Church which is His Body. In Baptism we truly become brothers and sisters of Jesus. As such we share in his filiation with the Father. From the beginning of creation God wanted us to be his children. But sin came upon the scene, and we were separated from God. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross made expiation and satisfaction for our sins. We are reconciled with God. No longer separated, through Christ we are daughters and sons of the Father. Again we are given the inheritance of heaven, realizing that this is not an unqualified right. We have to accept Christ's Sacrifice for us and must live consistently with all that He has taught us.
Continued next week