Monday, January 09, 2006

I'd like to wish you a Happy Baptismal Day! (Uh...when is it?)

Since the time of our fall from grace, God has planned our salvation. And we remember a stupendous piece of salvation history on today's Feast — the Baptism of the Lord.

When Jesus willed to be baptized by John in the the Jordan, He gave us the key to freedom. Three keys, perhaps. From today's Gospel (Mark 1:7-11)

"On coming up out of the water He saw the heavens being torn open..."

Yes. Jesus, true God but also true Man, saw Heaven opened for us all. Heaven became our permanent kingdom, and remains open to us today and forever.

"...and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him."

When we were baptized, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity made His home in us. We might not see a dove descending upon us, but consider the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas:

"The Holy Spirit descended
visibly in bodily for upon
when he was baptized
so that we may believe
Him to descend invisibly
upon all those who are
baptized afterwards."
(Summa Theologiae)


"And a voice came from the heavens: `You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'"

Is that incredible or what??? As the first to be baptized, Jesus, our Brother, intervened with the Father. At our baptism, our Father repeats these amazing words:

"You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased."

In a perfect slam-dunk (so to speak), Jesus gave us our triple-gift: the Kingdom of Heaven, the solace of His Spirit, and the privilege of becoming children of God the Father. Not too shabby for His first public act of ministry!

The priest at today's Mass challenged me.

"On what day were you baptized?" he questioned the congregation. I was stunned...I didn't know! I knew it was probably sometime shortly after my birth — and my birthday is a date very dear to my heart — but I couldn't have revealed the exact date.

This is important. The day of my baptism, and of your baptism, is as important — or perhaps even more so — then the day of our births.

You probably already know your baptismal date. I plan to find out mine. And I plan, God willing, to celebrate that day as it deserves to be the day God opened up His Kingdom to me, gave me His Spirit, and made me his beloved daughter.

It sure beats the cake out of a birthday cake. And I won't even ask for presents...I've already received the greatest gifts possible!