Why are we baptized? When we were born we were born with original sin. We were baptized because we needed to be cleansed from sin. We needed to be baptized because we needed to become worthy of God’s Kingdom.
But that is not the same reason why Jesus was baptized. You and I were baptized because we are sinners. Jesus was baptized not because He was a sinner. Jesus never committed a sin. Jesus was sinless.
Why was Jesus baptized? For only one reason: He wanted to be identified with us fellow sinners. It is because of His great love for us! He was willing to undergo the life of sinners. He was willing to undergo that which sinners undergo, although, He, himself did not have to go through it.
This is similar to having a person you love being imprisoned. You really love this person so much, so you say, “I love you very much, even if I did not commit any crime and I am not a criminal, I will enter the Bilibid Prison for you. That is how much I love you.” That is Jesus! He asked to be baptized because He wanted to be identified authentically with us. Although, He did not have to be baptized.
“When was Jesus baptized?” is the second question. According to tradition, Jesus was baptized when He was around 30 years old. That is correct but it is not completely true. Although Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, He continued to be baptized through some other occasions. If I ask you, “When were you baptized?” you will say, “I was baptized when the priest poured water over my head as a baby.” That is what our baptismal certificate says, but that is not completely correct.
Jesus was baptized by the waters of the Jordan but Jesus was also baptized by His own tears in Gethsemane. Jesus was baptized by His own suffering on the cross, when He allowed himself to be baptized with his own blood. In the same way, although we were baptized when the priest poured water over our foreheads when we were babies, we are also baptized by the dirty waters of our own human suffering. When we suffer, the dirty waters of human suffering cleanse us and make us humble. Suffering makes us patient and makes us tolerant again. We are baptized day by day; every time we have to go through some confusing stage in our life. We are baptized by the murky water of confusing times.
Who among us here has never been confused? Who has never been lost? We have all been given murky water. At some point in our lives, our minds have been muddled our hearts terribly confused. We have experienced feeling lost and adrift, not knowing where to go. But when murky water is poured on us because of our confusion, we grow. Our lives are enriched and our faith grows!
We are also baptized by the waters of joy; by the bubbling waters of our friendship. When we have a friend who truly loves us in spite of what we are, then we have a foretaste of the goodness of God Himself. We are baptized by the goodness of other people.
We are also baptized when we forgive after we are severely offended and almost fatally hurt. In spite of the tears clouding our eyes and the pain in our heart, we still choose to forgive. We are baptized again by ourselves, by the tears of forgiveness, by the tears of reconciliation.
Baptism started when the priest poured water over us. But baptism continues every time we suffer, every time we endure, every time we serve, every time we forgive, every time we love. We are baptized by waters that bubble, by the murky waters of suffering. by the black waters of confusion, by the pure water of service, by the bubbling waters of our friendship. We are baptized again and again.
The old term for baptism was christening. Christening means we become another Christ. You become another Christ not only by ritual. You become another Christ day by day Right now as you are listening to me, you are being baptized again. You are being christened again. You are allowing yourself to be formed again, to become another Christ. Do you realize that?
BAPTIZED FOR JOY AND PAIN
Jesus In My Heart