The Waters of Baptism

01-10-2021Weekly Reflection

When new sod is put in, it needs constant saturation with water. Landscapers say that this “knits” the sod to the soil. The same when a branch is grafted onto a tree: the poultice that joins them at the splice must be kept wet at all times. Water is the stuff that binds the very cells of our bodies together. No wonder religions throughout all times and cultures have used it so prominently. When Jesus stepped into the Jordan for baptism, he “knit” himself to what had come before him. By going to the Jordan, he made himself one with the people of Israel who had crossed it into their Promised Land. With John the Baptist, Christ wove himself into the prophetic tradition that heralded the coming reign of God. He had become fully human in the waters of Mary’s womb, and by partaking in the rite of the baptism of repentance, Jesus identified himself with our sinful, frail humanity. It is through the waters of baptism that Christ continues to graft new members onto his Body, the Church; through these waters we are cleansed from sin and filled with the promise of grace, given our destiny for eternal life. For us, as for Jesus, it is also the waters of baptism that inaugurate our mission to proclaim the Good News.