Baptism of the Lord Reflection by Joanna Krynski

Years ago, a friend of the family was sharing with us anecdotes of her joys as a grandmother. She laughed about the physical aches and pains that “came with the job.” When with her granddaughter, the grandmother would play and crawl around on the floor alongside her. The grandmother joked that sometimes she wasn’t sure she’d be able to get back up again. And yet, knees and back be damned, she continued to come down to the floor to play with her granddaughter because “that’s where her world is.”

What a wonderful approach to consider when trying to connect with someone, to show them support, to better learn how to serve them—consider where is their world right now? Where are they physically, but also, where do they need to put their thoughts, energy, and time, and how might we meet them there to offer a helping hand?

Because isn’t that what Jesus has done for us? With humility and compassion, come down to our world to best serve us? To touch earth and water as we do, to experience the joys and trials of humanity? The friendship, the betrayal, the love, the pain—that’s where our world is, so that is where God sends his beloved Son to meet us. A divine Son born fully human.

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a perfect example of where Jesus’ humanity and divinity meet to best serve us. In Luke 3:3, we learn that John proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And yet, in today’s Gospel, Jesus is going through this human ritual of being baptized by water along with many others. Jesus is without sin and has no need for repentance, conversion, or forgiveness, and yet, he participates in the same ritual as the “sinners,” being baptized by John as they are, in the same body of water.

This is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and I find it telling that he begins his new journey the same way we all officially start our Christian journey. Through the sacrament of baptism, we are welcomed with great joy into the Christian community, and as we are joining a community of believers, we are not alone in our journey of faith. We are to walk together, lifting one another up as we ourselves are lifted. And Jesus, too, walks with us.

By coming down to where our world is, by participating in our earthly rituals, Jesus connects with us on a human level first. And then, after Jesus has been baptized, the crowd witnesses a grand divine act that distinguishes Jesus as the Special One. “[H]eaven 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 I am well pleased.’”

By coming down to where our world is, Jesus brings his Divine world closer to us.

By coming down to where our world is, Jesus guides us through his healing ministry, showing us how to love, to pray, and to serve one another.

By coming down to where our world is, Jesus becomes the bridge between earth and the Kingdom.

What can you do today to bring you closer to where Jesus’ world is?