As Yogi Bera once aptly remarked, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”.
Although Christmas is a fading memory at the mall and the radio stations have stopped playing Christmas music , in our Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the last day of the Christmas season this year is January 12th when we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
In all four Gospels, the baptism of Jesus is a significant event. Mark’s Gospel, the earliest Gospel written, begins with the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism. The spirit of God descends like a dove upon Jesus and a voice from heaven pronounces, “This is my beloved Son”. In the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), it is immediately following his baptism that Jesus is tempted by Satan. And it is immediately after this temptation that Jesus begins his public ministry. In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist gives testimony to witnessing the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove upon Jesus. Immediately following this, Jesus calls his first disciples.
Baptism is also a significant event for each of us because it is in baptism that we enter the Church, the Body of Christ. It is in baptism that we become children of God and are anointed priest, prophet and king. It is in baptism that we die and rise with Christ.
So let’s keep the Christmas lights on this week! Let’s keep the wreath on our front door! And, most importantly, let us celebrate Jesus’ baptism, and our own baptism, this Sunday with gratitude as we strive to follow the Lord ever more closely during this new year by faithfully living out our baptismal promises.