COR THOUGHTS 133: Christ Makes Baptism a Bath of Rebirth

This weekend we celebrate Christ’s baptism in the Jordan. It’s a mystery of unfathomable depths – in fact, as the Catechism tells us, it’s a “nuptial mystery” (1617). In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of the “generous love of God” that “saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” A generous love, as the root of the word indicates, is a love that generates, a love that gives birth. The Holy Spirit – “the Lord, the giver of life,” as we say in the Nicene Creed – is the generous/generating love of God. Natural generation through perishable seed points to the supernatural generation of baptism in which Christ gives his “imperishable seed” (CCC 1228) to his Church-Bride and she “brings forth sons … to a new and immortal life” (CCC 507). In baptism we encounter an open exchange between heaven and earth: heaven opens its mysteries to be poured out on earth and earth opens to receive them. This is what occurred in Christ’s baptism: “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended,” as we read in the Gospel. In turn, earth opened and all her waters were impregnated with the power to give new life. Blessed are those who are regenerated through water and the Spirit!