The Bishops Homily – Baptism Of The Lord

Baptism Of The Lord
9 January 2017
Cycle A
Is. 42:1-7
Acts 10:34-38
Mt. 3:13-17

Introduction: “Live Christ; Share Christ” is the CBCP slogan for the ten (10) years of Evangelization since 2011 in preparation for the 500 years of Christianization in the Philippines. This Feast once again reminds every baptized Christian of our deep Communion with Christ by reason of Baptism. It is what St. Paul said to his Christians: It is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me.” As baptized Christians, can we truly say Christ, not my Ego, is manifested in my daily life? Or am I only a Catholic Christian by name?

(1) Baptism from the Greek word baptizein, means to plunge or immerse one into the divine as in the water. It focuses more on new life in union with Christ than on washing away our (orginal) sin. The core of this sacrament is new life in Christ, a share in his life, a radical change of allegiance to Christ. That is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls Baptism the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the spirit (vitae spiritualis janua), the door which gives access to the other sacraments.

(2) Baptism incorporates one into the Church, Christ’s own Mystical Body. The baptized are called to exercise their share in Christ’s Priesthood by offering the sacrifice of the Mass and to bear witness to Christ by proclamation or by defending their faith (apologetics). Thus Baptism confers a sharing in Christ’s very mission, particularly in his threefold function: as Priest, Prophet, and King.

(3) In the Synoptic Gospels, we hear of the Spirit who had hovered over the waters at the 1st creation, descended during Christ’s Baptism as a prelude of the new creation that the Messiah was about to undertake at the beginning of his Public Ministry. At its formal inauguration, Jesus receives his commission and blessing from the father who reveals him openly as his “Beloved Son”

Conclusion: Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by Faith in Baptism, they are incorporated into Christ: they, therefore, have a right to be called Christians and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” (U.R #3) Baptism, therefore, constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all Christians (U.R #22,#2)

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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