Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Our gospel reading today from the gospel of Saint Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 tell us about Jesus’s baptism and the affirmation of God the Father "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased," in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Today’s Solemnity marks the last day of the Christmas season and reminds us of the Sacrament of Baptism which is the beginning of our new life in Christ. This new life in Christ is explained and emphasized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. According to our Catechism, Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism. Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons (and daughters) of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission. So if Baptism is that important in our lives as Christians, what are its fruits in our lives? The fruits of Baptism are as follows:

  1. Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship.
  2. By Baptism all sins are forgiven, Original Sin and all personal sins, and temporal punishment due to sin is removed.
  3. Baptism also gives us new life as adopted children of God. We become sharers of divine life and temples of the Holy Spirit.
  4. By Baptism we become members of the Church, the Body of Christ. We share in the priesthood of Christ as well as his prophetic and royal mission.
  5. Baptism provides a common foundation among all Christians, including those not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.
  6. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ today, let us remember the rich reality of our baptismal grace which includes the forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son (or daughter) of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit - by which we have been incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made sharers in the priesthood of Christ. Also, let us go out into the world today and proclaim our faith in God by being true and faithful disciples of Christ in thought, words and actions, thereby live out our new life in Christ received in Baptism. Amen!