Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday Musings (...one day late)

A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

OK...I admit, it's taking me some time to get back into blogging. Hopefully, I can focus in the coming weeks and get back on track.

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And so, Christmas comes to an end as we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. Here are a few comments I posted recently in an online conversation concerning the Baptism of Jesus:

It is easy to think of Christ's baptism as an odd thing. Since He did not need the grace that is imparted in baptism, then why should He receive the Sacrament at all? He even told John that it was necessary that He be baptized, when John said that instead Jesus should be baptizing him. So why should it be necessary for the Son of God to be baptized...?

I have heard it explained before that Jesus did not need sanctification or grace in the waters of baptism (as we do), but the water itself was made holy by His baptism: He entered the water before us to open the Sacrament up for our benefit.

And so it is necessary that Jesus be baptized, not for His sake, but for ours. He must first open the waters to us by piecing them with His own flesh. It is Christ who makes the Sacrament of baptism effective for imparting His grace by first entering into the Sacrament in a physical and literal way. We find Christ in the waters of baptism because He truly went there.

I have read a similar explanation of Jesus' death: We encounter Christ after death because He went there before us. Prior to the Son of God becoming incarnate and dying, God had not enter into "death."And so Jesus' death was God's way of placing Himself on the other side of death's door, so to speak. So when we say that Jesus "descended into hell" or "descended to the dead" (depending on the version of the Apostles Creed), we are saying that God entered into death and opened the way for us, so that the Infinite enters into the finite; the God of Life conquers death by literally bringing His Life into the realm of the dead.

So in baptism, it is an effective sacrament (actually imparting true grace) because Grace itself first entered into the waters.

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