Homily for the Baptism of the Lord Year B

Restored to The Life of Grace through Baptism

Readings: 1s tIs 55, 1-11; Ps: Is 12, 2-6; 2nd: 1Jn 5, 1-9Gos: Mk 1, 7-11

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today is the first Sunday of ordinary time, year B. It is also the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This Sunday is like a bridge between two great cities. Officially, it marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the ordinary time of the year.

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Through this feast, the Church reminds us that Jesus was baptized with water and the Holy Spirit to bring healing and salvation to all nations. Today’s celebration allows us to reflect both on the efficacy of Christ’s baptism as well as on ours.

In today’s first reading from Isaiah, God extends a universal invitation to all of us. It is a special invitation to come to Christ the living water. Christ is the living water in whose name we were baptized. Through his baptism, He has sanctified our water of baptism.

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Today’s invitation is unique because it is open to all nations, especially those who are truly thirsty. It is for those who are genuinely open to the salvation that God offers through his son Jesus Christ. Hence, it is a call to accept God’s offer of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ, the living water.  

In our second reading, John calls our attention to the importance of believing in Jesus Christ. Most importantly, he highlighted three elements that bear witness to the sonship of Christ: water, blood, and spirit. Every day, we are tainted both inwardly and outwardly by sin. In light of this, the water of baptism, which Christ brings, continues to be efficacious in our lives.

Christ continues to regenerate us through the water of baptism, through his precious blood, and the power of the Holy Spirit. This water and blood include all that is necessary for our salvation—both flow from Christ.

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Through this water that flowed from Christ’s side, our souls are washed and purified for eternal life in heaven.  While through his blood, we are justified, reconciled, and presented to God as righteous. Through his Spirit, we are made strong for the battle of life. Christ loved the church and gave himself for us, that he might sanctify and cleanse us with the washing of water in baptism (Eph 5:25-27).

The gospel highlights the core of our celebration today, the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Christ had to be baptized in order to make way for us, and in order to purify our water of baptism. As the first among his brothers (Rom 8, 29), he always takes the lead to show us the way. Hence, he came from heaven to earth to show us the way.

Therefore, the baptism of Christ is the stepping stone for our baptism. He healed the water. Thus, giving it the capacity to clean us from Original Sin. Therefore, today’s celebration reminds us of God’s saving help to us. It reminds us that what Adam and Eve destroyed through Original Sin was restored by Christ through the water of baptism.

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At Christ’s baptism, the Spirit of the Father bore witness that he is indeed the son of the Father. This is also what happens to us, not only at baptism but daily. As we continue to walk with God by fulfilling our baptismal promises, the Holy Spirit, continues to testify: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

Finally, today’s celebration allows us to reflect on our Baptism. So, let us renew those promises we made to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Today, let us recommit ourselves to Christ in whose name we were baptized. So, with joy, let us draw living water from Christ, the well of salvation (Is 2, 3).

Peace be with you!

Maranatha!

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