Mercy At The Jordan
Tissot: Baptism of Jesus
John was calling people to repentance when he was baptizing at the Jordan. As he was doing so on this particular day, those coming to be baptized saw him look up and stop for a moment, and then say: "Behold the Lamb of God." Jesus came to the Jordan that day not because He needed to be cleansed of any sin, but to show us how to do the will of the Father. In His humility in asking John to baptize Him, Christ shows us the mercy of God. In some way Christ was affirming what John was doing and saying. John was crying out "Repent!" Jesus' actions that day showed us how. His actions also showed us that He would be with us as we examine our lives in this effort to repent.
When we look at the various times in Scripture where Jesus healed and forgave someone, we see that He is right there with them. When the woman was caught in adultery, He walked up to her, offered her His hand in raising her up in the midst of those who would seek to kill her. He tells her her sins are forgiven and to go and sin no more. Jesus approaches the woman at the well to ask her for a drink, but is there with her as she reveals to Him the sins of her own life. He offers her Living Water, and she is able, through faith in Jesus as Messiah to repent and proclaim all that He had done for her. In every healing encounter people had with Jesus, He tells them that their faith has saved them. He tells us the same, and is with us just the same.
Jesus' baptism is a model of humility and mercy. Our own baptism brings us into life with this Mystery of Mercy. Baptism is the first sacrament we receive; it cleanses us from Original Sin. Through and because of our baptism we are given grace to live the will of the Father in our own lives. There is great freedom in this; we are free to live and do what is right in and through Christ. Baptism immerses us in this life and opens the way for us to continue to receive God's grace in the other sacraments. When we fail to live our Christian lives, we can be reconciled with God in the sacrament of Reconciliation, we receive the strength and nourishment we need to live our lives in Christ by receiving Him in Holy Communion.
Today as we hear John cry out to repent, let us remember that as we do so, Christ is there waiting for us. He will be with us as we look at our lives and help us to see where we need to change. Our faith in Him will save us and set us free. We never have to fear of looking at our sins by ourselves. When we heed the invitation to repent, Jesus is there, just as He was at the Jordan that day, with His mercy.