The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives four reasons for the Incarnation, why God became man in Jesus Christ. The third reason is “to be our model of holiness.” All of Jesus’ words and actions model for us what we ought to do. He also shows us how we’re meant to be. Jesus’ baptism ought to remind us of our own baptism and of the importance of baptism in the Christian life.
The Baptism of the Lord reminds us of our Trinitarian identity. When we are baptized, we stand in solidarity with Christ, bathed in the waters he sanctified. There, the Father proclaims our adoption into the family of God. “‘This is my beloved son [this is my beloved daughter], with whom I am well pleased.’” And the Spirit, too, descends. We are filled with the Spirit’s grace and power to continue Christ’s mission on earth. We received these gifts in the sacrament, and they continue to dwell within us through sanctifying grace. We can — and should — invite God to stir up these graces of our baptism and consider them in our own lives.
Does Christ feel like a distant relative two thousand years in the past? Or do you see him as someone who can be encountered here and now? Ask yourself where you find your sense of dignity and worth. Do you still search for it in success or social status? Or are you able to rest in being a beloved child of God? Remember, baptism gives us a call and a charge to change the world. Do you pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you? Or are you so focused on your own life that you miss the mission? This week, let’s do as Jesus did. Let’s live out our baptism!