Friday, January 10, 2014

Baptism of the Lord (A) - Living Water

Mt. 3:13-17
January 12, 2014

GOSPEL READING: The Baptism of the Lord
Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.

  As soon as Jesus was baptized he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on him.’

REFLECTION: Living Water

Water cleanses. Water is life. Water is a great symbol in Baptism, the sacrament that cleanses our sins and welcomes us into a new life in Christ, Who was “born of the Virgin Mary [and] has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin” (Gaudium et Spes 22, 2). But wait! Why was Jesus baptized if He is without sin? He went to the River Jordan, fell in line, waited His turn, sloped into the waters, and was baptized by John like the others.

Our Lord voluntarily submitted Himself to baptism intended for sinners in order to “fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15). Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of His self-emptying (cf. Phil 2:7.) The Spirit Who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as His “beloved Son” (Mt 3:16-17). Therefore, He was not baptized for His sins to be cleansed because He is sinless in the first place; He was baptized for us to be cleansed from sin through His love. Baptism marked the start of His public ministry. The water of Baptism inaugurated His proclamation of the Good News and this must be true to all baptized Christians as well. We are Christians because we are followers of Christ.

We were baptized with living water, and we must let this water flow in our life. If we are baptized Christians yet we are only nominal Christians, this water will become stagnant. Yes, we are Christians but we don’t attend the Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays and holy days of obligation. We are Christians, yet we don’t care for the poor, the sick and the less fortunate. We are Christians, yet we lead others to temptation and sin. We are Christians, yet we don’t forgive. We are Christian, yet we don’t love. With these, the living water becomes stagnant, swarmed by wrigglers, dengue-inflicted, dead and deadly.

There can at least be two imageries for living water: one is a glass catching water from a faucet; and the other one is water pipe where water flows from inside out. The glass in the former can only share if it is filled; while the water pipe in the latter must not be filled in order to share. Christians can relate to the former for God fills us in order to share His love while God is the latter Who emptied Himself for us to be filled: “Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God, something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). 

All of these because of God’s love for us. Let us be living waters drawing from Christ Who is the Water of Life. Ang tubig na buhay ay mula sa Tubig ng Buhay. (Living water is drawn from the Water of Life.)

FR. LOUIE CORONEL, OP is a Dominican Priest assigned in the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas.


Feast, Cycle A, OP Friars, Baptism, Submission, Mission, Life

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