Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Several weeks ago, Wingnut Jr. came home from CCD and had a question I could answer, but not explain adequately.  He'd had a substitute teacher that day and she had told the class that Jesus had Original Sin as part of his human nature and that was why he was baptized.  I knew that was wrong.  First of all, it doesn't make sense.  As the Son of God, and as the Second Person of God, Jesus is perfect in every way.  He did not sin and he did not possess Original Sin.  Secondly, I recalled being taught he did not possess Original Sin, but I could not recall why he chose to be baptized.  Thankfully, I was able to correct Wingnut Jr.'s bad theology, and was subsequently backed up by his usual CCD teacher when she returned.

This last Sunday we celebrated The Baptism of the Lord, and we were all blessed with one of the best homilies I have ever heard on baptism.  You can actually hear Father Erik's entire homily via podcast here.  It's just under 8.5 minutes and a really great listen, if you've got a few minutes.  For me, it finally impressed upon me two of the reasons Christ was baptized.  The first reason comes directly from Sacred Scripture : 

Jesus said to him in reply,

“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”

--from Matthew's Gospel chapter 3

To fulfill all righteousness is the first reason.  The second reason I know I've heard before, but it wasn't until this weekend that it finally stuck.  When we are baptized we are cleansed.  Jesus did not need cleansing from sinfulness and so his baptism had a different purpose.  Jesus cleansed the water by his baptism.  Pretty awesome, right?  Anyway, I found it all to be pretty profound.  Listen to the homily.  Tell me what stands out for you.

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