Friday, January 8, 2016

Water Made Holy

In Bible Sharing, Frank asked, "Why would Jesus need to be baptized?"  We offered different reasons, but this morning I read one we never imagined.  This is from a sermon by Saint Maximus of Turin, bishop.

Christ is baptized, not to be made holy by the water, but to make the water holy, and by his cleansing to purify the waters which he touched.  For the consecration of Christ involves a more significant consecration of the water.  For when the Savior is washed all water for our baptism is made clean, purified at its source for the dispensing of baptismal grace to the people of future ages.  Christ is the first to be baptized, then so that Christians will follow after him with confidence.

We did think that Jesus was giving us an example to follow.  He always obeyed the religious rules.  But the Hebrews weren't baptizing.  Jews don't get baptized.  So, Jesus was giving us an example of new rules.  Water will change us, wash us clean, so to speak.  True, the church teaches that baptism takes away Original Sin.  It signifies that we are now on the road to Christ.  We are now Christians.  All this because of water.

Think of this when you hear this Sunday's gospel, The Baptism of the Lord.

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