Emily | A Year of Living Adventurously
The Baptism of the Jordan begins the Mysteries of Light, or the Luminous Mysteries, given to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II in October of 2003. It’s the only change, really, that’s been made to the rosary in its long history.
Before my transplant, my parents asked me what mysteries of the rosary they should pray. I said they should start with the luminous, because they’re my favorite.
Looking at this mystery, we can ask, “why did Jesus even need baptism? He’s perfect, right? Why is this necessary?” Jesus himself gives us the answer in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized y him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now: for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented.” Matthew 3: 13-15, RSV
“To fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus doesn’t need John’s baptism, and John knows it. But just like the Virgin Mary didn’t need purified in the Temple after Jesus’ birth. But Jesus didn’t shun the outward signs of faith and belief. So why, then, the baptism?
To show us what we need, that we may imitate him. As we imitate Jesus when we honor his mother, and partake of the Eucharist, so we do so when we baptize our children, and repent of our sins.
Ash Wednesday is quickly upon us. On that day, at Mass, the priest will mark our foreheads with ashes and say, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” This is an echo of what John said and did during his ministry–he called his people to repentance, and to believe in God’s word. He prepared the way for Christ, so that when Christ appeared, he could say, “This is the Lamb of God. This is one you should follow, not me. I am only his messenger.”
We tend to discuss John more in Advent, but he also deserves our attention in Lent. We are to prepare the way for Jesus now, just as we did in December. Lent and Advent are both penitential seasons. Are we preparing, or starting to think about preparing?
John, from the moment he met Christ, He was ready for him. He was always prepared to welcome him. Are we? What can we do to make our lives more open to God, so we too can fulfill all righteous, and fulfill our baptismal promise?
How do we prepare the way of the Lord?