Lay Minister Joseph L’Heureux
We have just celebrated Christmas, our Lord’s birthday, then Kings Day, or Ukrainian Christmas, on Jan. 7. Also on Jan. 7, we celebrated the Lord Baptism by John the Baptist.
You might think this is the same baptism, which all cradle Christians receive shortly after our birth, but it is not. That celebration in Jesus’ life [His circumcision] probably happened either on the eighth day of His life or when Mary came for her own purification, according to the Law of Moses. [Numbers 12: 1-4, Genesis 17:10-14] That feast day will be celebrated Feb. 2 and it is called “The Presentation of the Lord.”
This feast day, “The Baptism of our Lord”, actually is a celebration of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist 30 years later, when Jesus was about to begin His public ministry and it happened in this way.
“John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to Him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan.” [Mark 1:4-5]
“Many were asking Him; are you the Messiah, the One who is to come? John answered. ‘I baptize you with water; but one more powerful than I who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’” [Luke 3:16]
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as He was coming out of the water, He saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on Him, and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son the Beloved, with You I am well pleased,’” [Mark 1:9-11]
Why did Jesus need to be baptized? Since He was God incarnate, I’m sure He already was endowed with the Holy Spirit. The answer I’m sure is He came to show us the way to obedience and salvation.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.” [John 14:6]
If Jesus saw the need to be baptized, it should be obvious that we also need to be baptized.
He later commanded His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28: 19-20]
Many of us were baptized in infancy, as parents have the right to claim us for the kingdom. Later, we are confirmed into the faith and receive the Holy Spirit.
Somehow, in many of us, something is missing. We never darken the doors of the church except for weddings and funerals. What is it that’s missing? Is it our foundational instruction, or we just forget the last part of Jesus’ command in Matthew: “Teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:20]
The answer to the above question could be we have never received confirmation and the Holy Spirit, or that we have never put out enough effort in our faith or the church to stimulate the Holy Spirit within us.
This is very sad. We don’t know what we are missing, it’s like we’ve just been given a new car, without the motor and keys.
There is another possibility. Is it because we have never truly experienced a true repentance? Remember, John the Baptist came “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”.
I have seen adults who were baptized as children rebaptized again by full submersion, under water which had electrifying results. It was like a fire had started to glow within and under them, enthusiasm and zeal abounded.
I was rebaptized as an adult. If it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for me.
The second time I was rebaptized in full submersion. This first luminous mystery, says this baptism, stimulates within us a desire to submit to God’s will. When I immersed myself in God’s word, [Bible] this stimulated a compulsive desire to be rebaptized so I sought out a church to achieve this stage in my journey. It filled me with a greater desire to seek out God’s will and His truth for me, which eventually led me back to the Catholic church.
Mother Mary, through her appearances, has called us to repentance for the past 36 years, warning us that it is time to repent before it’s too late. Very few have responded to her call. God Bless.