John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, «There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. It is he of whom I said: ‘A man comes after me who is already ahead of me, for he was before me’. I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing to prepare for him, so that he might be revealed in Israel». And John also gave this testimony, «I saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove from heaven and resting on him. I myself did not know him but God who sent me to baptize told me: ‘You will see the Spirit coming down and resting on the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’. Yes, I have seen! and I declare that this is the Chosen One of God».
«I have seen! And I declare that this is the Chosen One of God»
Fr. Higinio Rafael ROSOLEN IVE
(Cobourg, Ontario, Canada)
Today, St. John the Baptist testifies about the baptism of Jesus. Pope Francis reminded us «Baptism is the Sacrament on which our faith is based, and which grafts us to Christ and His Church, as living members”; and added: "It is not a mere formality! It is an act that touches the depth of our existence” A baptized child is not the same than a non-baptized child. A baptized person is not the same than a non-baptized person. “With the Baptism, we are immersed in that inexhaustible fount of life that is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love of all history; and thanks to this love we are able to live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, sin and death, but rather in communion with God and with our brothers»
We have listened to the two main effects of Baptism taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (p. 1262-1266):
«Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world» (Jn 1:29). One effect of Baptism is the purification from sins, that is, all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins as well as all the penalties of sin.
«The Spirit comes down», «baptizes with the Holy Spirit» (John 1.33): Baptism makes us become a "new creation", God’s foster children sharing the divine nature, members of Christ, joint-heirs with Him and temples of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit — gives us the sanctifying grace, which makes us capable of believing in God, to wait on Him and to love Him; to live and act under the motion of the Holy Spirit through its gifts; to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Let us therefore ask, as Pope Francis urges us, «for the grace of the memory of our Baptism», «living out our Baptism every day as the present reality in our lives».