The Baptism of Approval
The Lord’s baptism is symbolic of the Father’s approval of the Son’s ministry of preaching the Good News of Salvation that would culminate in his passion, death and resurrection.
When Christ submitted Himself to be baptized by John in the Jordan River, God’s stamp of approval was dramatically executed by the symbolism of a dove and voice from above which said: “You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased.” Christ’s baptism marks the formal beginning of His public ministry.
Jesus’ baptism represents the fulfillment of what is prophesied in the Servant Song in Chapter 63 of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. God sends his servant-son, filled with his spirit, sharing his divine life and power, to accomplish the salvation of the world, bringing new life to all of humanity. He is designated as the representation of God’s people according to the Spirit. He is declared formally as the only Son of God, the Servant of Yahweh, anointed with his prophetic spirit.
The celebration of the Lord’s baptism makes us reflect on the need to ask God to consider or approve what we plan to do with our respective lives. It speaks of the need to submit ourselves and our decisions to God’s clearance. It invites us to consider the need to get God’s opinion on what we undertake on a daily basis, giving our life and our acts a kind of stamp of approval from the Almighty Father. Our personal desire to ask God what he thinks or feels about our life and our plans is the beginning of an authentic, personal spirituality which can be a solid basis for our life as a Christian and a member of our faith community. Our daily dialogue with God has to deal with things that are deep and within our hearts, including our faults, failures and frustrations. The Eucharist and other sacraments are solemn opportunities of such dialogue with God.
Our personal approach to God becomes the basis of our attitude towards people, events and things. Our coming to worship as part of what we consider our own definition of religion cannot produce or induce this personal aspect of our faith without our individual effort to encounter Christ in our daily life. Let us then let our personal friendship with our Almighty God grown and mature.