A Riveting Dip in the River: Weekly Message for 01-05-2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Baptism of the Lord is one of those liturgical feasts that highlights the mysterious union of Jesus’ divinity and humanity.

It’s when the Second Person of the Trinity who took to himself our human nature approaches John at the River Jordan for baptism.

The request is stunning. Here was the spotless Lamb of God, lining up with sinners to undergo a ritual that was linked only to those who needed purification. “John tried to prevent him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?’” (Matthew 3:14).

Our Lord’s baptism is a kind of microcosm of how God works in the world. The Almighty stoops down from the heights to let us know how close he is to us. The Son comes among us to share our lot, to redeem and elevate us.

This truth can bring special reassurance as we come out of a year laden with difficulties of all sorts – medical, financial, social, psychological, spiritual.

Yet, Our Lord has been with us at every step, notwithstanding the limited access many of us have had to churches, for “he himself is not bound by his sacraments” (Catechism, 1257).

He has accompanied us in our prayers, in our loneliness, in our sufferings, and in our moments of anxiety. He isn’t a Savior who works by remote control, but one who draws close to us and loves us in our littleness.

So, let the upcoming feast of Our Lord’s baptism be a reminder that our own baptism incorporates us in the mystical body of One who stays with us through thick and thin.

To focus on this point, you might find our Retreat Guide on Baptism helpful.

And rest assured that the Lord be with you … amid all your struggles.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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