South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Why was Jesus baptized?

Why was Jesus baptized?
When John baptized Jesus, it meant something very different than it does to Catholics today.

Twenty years ago, director M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Sixth Sense changed how viewers experienced the power of perspective. If someone stopped watching before the climactic “reveal,” they perhaps could have offered a reasonably coherent plot summary. But as soon as they reached the ending, everything they thought the movie was about had to be reevaluated, and their reasonably coherent plot summary would not have worked at all.

A similar change in perspective is needed when considering Jesus’ baptism. Today, baptism means something particular to many Christians: The ritual is an outward sign of the welcoming of people into the church and of God’s forgiveness of sins. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God.” But in presuming that because this is what baptism is, this is also what baptism has always meant, we make a Sixth Sense-ish error. Our present view glosses over the past: In fact, when John baptized Jesus, it meant something different.

No comments: