“Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.” Mt 3,13
Throughout the history of the Church, there has been a recurring heresy, to the effect that Jesus didn’t really become a human being. The Eternal Son of God merely took on the appearance of humanity. It’s easy to understand how people could come to this position on Jesus’ identity. In the gospels, especially Matthew, Luke, and John, he is very “divinized”. He comes across more as God than as man. So much so that I am quite convinced that a lot of Christians don’t really believe that he actually suffered during his passion.
Fortunately, we are blessed with a few gospel passages that rectify this error. One of them is today’s ever so precious gospel of Jesus’ baptism. We are told in this gospel that Jesus was baptized, and that upon having been baptized, the Spirit of God descended upon him. What this means is that Jesus, divine as he was, was so utterly human that he had to be baptized in order to receive the Holy Spirit, in order to be enabled to live the life and the mission that the Father had foreseen for him from all eternity. More on that life and that mission in today’s homily. Let us be content to dwell for now on the thought that Jesus was, really and truly God-with-us, Emmanuel. The proof is that he needed to be baptized, in order to receive the Holy Spirit, in order to live out his human vocation.
And so the Christmas season ends as it began, with the Scriptures telling us yet again, one last time, in a different way, that Jesus of Nazareth was really and truly one of us, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Blessed be God for the wonder of his ways.