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What does the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do all day together? Let’s take a look. At the Baptism of the Lord, Jesus is pulled out of the water. Next, the sky opens and the Holy Spirit descends. While this takes place, the Father offers a short speech about the greatness of His Son. And for the first time in Sacred Scripture, the first time ever recorded in history, we see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all together working as a unified team. Now we know what the Trinity does together. They baptize. The Son ascends from the water which represents life over death to give us eternal life. The Spirit descends upon us so we are able to live God’s wonderful life, and the Father welcomes us into the divine family by saying we are his beloved son or daughter. The greatest thing that can happen to a human being is baptism, and that is what God does, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Most of us do not remember our baptism because we were infants so we missed the excitement. But let me describe what baptism was like in the early church.
Most of the Christians in the first century were very poor or slaves. The first thing they did before they were baptized was they took off all their clothes. They were just rags anyway. Next, they were submerged into moving water, like a river. Moving water was essential for baptism so that all the soot, and sweat on their bodies from living in the slums, all the dirt from hard work of the salves was carried away downstream. After they came out of the water they did not put on their dirty rags. For the first time probably in their lives, they put on a brand new t-shirt. Then they put on a clean white cloak. Why a cloak? So they would feel good in a brand new, never-worn-before garment. So they would feel special, because they are in this group. Then they put on a pair of sandals. Why sandals? Because slaves never allowed footwear. Putting on sandals means you are not a slave, not in this group. Then they put on a ring. Why a ring? A ring meant that you were a part of a family. Think about that. At that moment, you will never have to worry about going to bed hungry again. You belonged to a special family. If you got sick, someone would care for you. If you died, you would receive a proper burial and you would rest in peace because your kids would be educated and cared for. The greatest thing that could happen to a human being was baptism.
When you read the New Testament especially the early letters, they talk a lot about Baptism. We can read about Jesus’ baptism in the Gospels. Jesus tells the disciples to go and baptize the nations in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit at before he ascends to the Father. St. Paul in his letters discusses how we put on Christ in baptism. Why so much attention to Baptism? The Romans didn’t like Christians because they were different. They didn’t worship their gods nor celebrated with them during their pagan feasts. To them, it was a group of losers. The loser’s club. And it was easy to get discouraged and lose heart. So the Gospels and letters reminded them that they were baptized. The greatest thing that can happen to them, happened. That God the Father the Son and Holy Spirit transformed them. And no one could take that away from them.
Today, we are reminded of our baptism so that when we get discouraged or lose heart, we will never forget that the greatest thing that could happen to us happened to us.Back to All Homilies