Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We hear in today’s Gospel Luke’s account of the event. After Jesus is baptized by John and is praying, “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you am well pleased.’”
Why does Jesus undergo the ritual of Baptism? Unlike us, he had no sins that required forgiveness. He had no need of repentance. He did not need to be baptized by John. Indeed, in Matthew’s account of the event (although not in Luke), John tries to argue with Jesus that it is John who should be coming to Jesus for baptism, not he other way around.
The answer has to do with the voice from heaven. In the words of one commentator, Jesus submitted himself to baptism “in order to invite us to share in his relationship with the Father announced from the heavens.”
And so when we received the sacrament of Baptism, we were baptized into Christ, receiving the same Spirit who descended upon Jesus from heaven. By Baptism, we become beloved sons and daughters of God. God looks at each one of us and says, “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased.”