A lot of electronics have a pinhole somewhere on them. This is a button that can ‘restore your device to factory settings’ so if something goes wrong on it you could get a pin, press it, and reset the machine to (generally) restore it to how it was intended to be. In a lot of ways, this kind of restoration is similar to what happens at Baptism, and today’s readings can help us to see that in action.
The Gospel shares with us Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism and Jesus’ words to John that his baptism is “to fulfill all righteousness.” Righteousness is a hard term to describe quickly, but it conveys ‘things being how things should be.’ And following Jesus’ baptism we see what that means in this context: Heaven opens up, there is clear communication with God, and our relationship with God as a daughter or son is made real. This is ‘how things should be’ between humanity and God!
Paul’s reflection on the Baptism of Jesus however, takes this notion further. He observes that following his Baptism, Jesus went out to the world, full of the Holy Spirit and gave it to those in need around him. The ‘how things should be’ does not stop with our relationship with God, but extends out to help our neighbors as well.
Indeed, this plan extends even into God’s words from the Old Testament. Do me a favor. Read the first reading once more, and doing so imagine the Holy Spirit speaking these same words to you at the moment of your own baptism. Hear the delight of the Father in His child, the call into the Son’s mission of Justice, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to do the impossible. Friends, this passage isthe mission of every baptized person!All of us are created as children of God and reflections of God’s own self in a unique way; but through sin, something in us has gone wrong and we don’t work as we should. The sacrament of Baptism is one of restoration, of putting the pin in and reinstating what was ours from the beginning: sonship and daughterhood with the Father, a heart seeking for justice, and the capacity to live both of these things out. While we still struggle at times, baptism is a restoration of who we are and a reminder of how we are made to be!
Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator