Daily Reflection on the Gospel of Sunday, January 8, 2023

Catoli News

Today, we contemplate the Messiah —the Anointed— by the river Jordan «to be baptized by him [John]» (Mt 3:13). And we can see Jesus Christ as betokened by the visible physical occurrence of the Holy Spirit and, through audible words, by the Father, who proclaims of Jesus the following: «This is my Son, the Beloved; he is my Chosen One» (Mt 3:17). Here, we have a marvelous motive and, at the same time, an encouraging incentive to live a life: to be beloved and chosen by the Heavenly Father. To enthrall the Father!

Somehow, we already request it in the collect prayer of today's mass: «Almighty and eternal God (...), turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness, that we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ». God, who is infinitely good, “loves us well” all the time. But, do we allow him to?; are we worthy of his divine benevolence?; do we correspond to this benevolence?

To deserve such divine benevolence and complacence, Christ has provided the waters with a regenerating and purifying strength, so that, when baptized, we truly become sons of God. «Maybe someone will wonder: ‘why did He want to be baptized, if He is Holy? Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ was baptized not to be made holy by the waters, but to make holy the waters’» (St Maximus of Turin).

All this —undeservedly! — places us in a connatural level with divinity. But this first regeneration does not suffice: we need to experience the Baptism once more through a kind of continuous “second baptism”, which is our spiritual rebirth. Parallel to the Rosary's first Mystery of Light —Christ's Baptism in the Jordan river— we must contemplate Mary's example in the fourth Joyful Mystery: Purity of Heart. She, Immaculate, and a pure virgin, is quite willing to submit herself to the purification process. We crave for the simplicity, sincerity and humility that allow us to constantly live our purification as a sort of “second baptism”.