Sunday Reflection | The Baptism of the Lord | Fr. Ryan Connors

January 8, 2022

Sunday Reflection by: Fr. Ryan Connors, Director of Sacred Liturgy

A reporter once asked Pope John Paul II, “What was the most important day of your life?” He didn’t respond with his great accomplishments, many travels, or noteworthy speeches. He didn’t recall his election as Successor of St. Peter or even his ordination as a priest or consecration as a bishop. Rather, he said simply, “It was the day of my Baptism.” What the holy Pope understood is that what happens in Baptism is indeed the most important thing in our lives.

Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Baptism of the Lord. Christ’s Baptism is the beginning of His public ministry—a revelation to us of who He is. Today manifests the Lord’s solidarity with our sinful state. Jesus unites Himself with sinners.

The feast of the Baptism is an occasion to reflect on our own Baptism, a day we probably we don’t remember and think too little about. Today is an occasion to remember that someone’s faith brought us to the font of salvation. Someone had the good sense to realize that the only solution for a fallen humanity is God’s grace.

In Baptism we entered God’s family. No longer simply creatures made in His image, the baptized are His adopted children. In Baptism we were incorporated into Christ, joined to His body, the Church.

Pope Francis explains: “Baptism is not a mere formality! A baptized child is not the same as one who is un-baptized…. It is an act that touches the depth of our existence. We are immersed in the inexhaustible fount of life that is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love in history; and thanks to this love we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil but in communion with God.”

Like all the Sacraments, in Baptism God really acts. He makes creatures into adopted children; He makes sinners into saints. For that reason, no one can discount the privileged place of the baptized sinner in the economy of salvation. It is the way that Jesus told us how to come to Him. It is the reason parents and grandparents rightly desire Baptism for newborn children. Far from superficial piety, they understand there should be no delay in letting a newborn child become a son or daughter of God.

Put simply: All the goods of the created world of the whole universe pale in comparison to the slightest degree of sanctifying grace in the soul of a tiny newly baptized infant. In a word: in Baptism—we become God’s children. Small wonder John Paul II got it right. It’s the most important day of your life.

The work of Saint John’s Seminary is to form priests after the heart of Christ. The men of Saint John’s seek to draw more and more people to the font of Baptism, to receive the unimaginable grace of God present there. We are grateful for your support of this important work.

Title Image: The Baptism of Christ in Chapel of St John the Baptist, Basilica di Sant Andrea delle Fratte, Rome, Italy

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