Baptism of the Lord, Year C-2010

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor (Lk. 4:18)

At his baptism, Jesus was revealed as the beloved Son anointed with the Holy Spirit and with whom the Father was well pleased.

Such revelation surely confirms that Jesus is the one mightier than John the Baptist: upon Jesus is the Holy Spirit and, accordingly, he will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The revelation also points to Jesus’ exalted status as a descendant of David to whom God would be a Father (see Ps. 2:7; Heb. 1:5). It makes clear, moreover, Jesus’ elect status, that is, his being the chosen servant with whom the Lord is pleased (Is. 41:8; 42:1).

But what could so easily be lost to me in this revelatory initiation is what the anointing with Spirit and power, the exaltation of the Son, and the election of the servant really suppose and mean. Anointing with the Spirit and power supposes anointing for death and powerlessness (see Mt. 26:12; Mk. 14:8; 16:1; Jn. 12:7; 2 Cor. 12:10). The cross is the place of exaltation (Jn. 3:14; 8:28; 12:32). Being chosen as a servant means disfigurement and familiarity with suffering (Is. 52:14; 53:2-11). In other words, what is supposed and meant is that “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

This is what is supposed and meant by Jesus’ baptism for the mission of bringing comfort and justice to the poor that spells the manifestation of God’s kindness and generous love. Unless I can drink the cup Jesus drank and be baptized with the baptism he was baptized with (see Mk. 10:38), I am no follower of this Evangelizer of the Poor and still far from being “saved through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Moreover, I will be lying when I participate in what he commanded to be done in remembrance of his being dismembered.