“This is My Son, Whom I love”. (Mt 3 17)
These words which we heard in today’s Gospel, are a promise from God Himself, that in Jesus we all receive a great gift.
This promise is the best certainty that God is with us. Gifts are given to friends, to someone we love and respect. St John the Baptist tells us that God gives us Jesus Christ so that we can have life through Him. This gift is not a thing, but a person who loves us, forgives us our sins, and gives us salvation in heaven.
John the Baptist, baptises people, and even Jesus receives baptism from him.
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God speaks to us as well through baptism. It is a grace, a blessing. It is part of the gift.
Because it is a gift which is freely given to us, we must freely accept it. We must choose to be Christians and declare that we want to live in unity with Christ.
We must freely choose to accept Jesus Christ because there is another one in the world who wants to give us gifts as well. This is the evil spirit. His gift can look good, can be covered with sugar, and may appear to be a better option for us. We must decide which gift to accept, but the devil’s gifts do not grant life, peace, or happiness. The devil gives us sin, disunity and hatred which always lead to death. This is because that is what the devil is and does.
Jesus is baptised, even though He Himself is without sin. He asks us to be baptised as well. Baptism is the doorway to our relationship with Him.
His gifts to us, as the scripture say, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and eternal life.
As He asked His disciples, He also asks us to share these gifts with others so that our neighbours and loved one may know Jesus.
This is what the Feast of the Jordan is all about. Today we bless water and renew our baptismal vows. We sprinkle our homes, fields, and everything else with holy water.
Jesus, by his baptism in the River Jordan, shows us that the earth is holy. We must treat it with love and respect. The earth is our home. We must not pollute it and destroy it.
Today’s celebration of the Jordan is united to Christmas. In both of these moments God proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God.
The blessing of our homes is not just a symbol. The blessing witnesses to that fact that we, and our homes, are gifts from God. Our homes are where the family lives and witnesses its belief in God.