FR. ANDREW WRITES:-
In these first weeks of the year after the rush of Christmas and Epiphany and the focus on the new-born king we turn to baptism. On Monday we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and this Sunday John the Baptist describes what he has seen at Jesus’ baptism namely ‘…the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove resting on him.’ (John 1: 33) It is Jesus who will ‘baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:34)
John baptised with water, a baptism of repentance. ‘I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am…he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’ (Matt 3: 11-12).
John goes on to say ‘I am the witness that he is the chosen One of God’ ( John 1:34).
Baptism has life changing effects. The person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit . They are spiritually reborn and given grace. It is a spiritual birth, an opportunity to grow in the life of grace. ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God,’ (John 3:5) - Jesus says to Nicodemus.
In fact every time we enter the church we make the sign of the cross with Holy Water, to remind us of our baptism and to strive to live a life of grace.
Each of us is called to be a witness, a witness to this life of grace.