The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our own baptism - that moment when we began our lives as Christians by entering the waters made holy by Jesus himself.
As I explain at baptism ceremonies, Jesus went into the waters first, we follow him, and as we do so, we enter his life so, as St Paul says, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and we live in him: his life is ours, and united with us, he can transform us. We can then say in faith, that where he has gone we hope to follow, because we walk in his footsteps guided by him in grace.
An interesting aspect of the Gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus, is the moment when the Father proclaims Jesus as his Son: at that moment we find out who he is and what his mission is. Contrary to what many think, when we enter into the life of Christ we do not lose ourselves, but rather find ourselves: we discover who we truly are and what our mission here on earth is - and of course what our destiny is.
Pope Benedict explores this beautifully in his homily at the inauguration of his papacy:
If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.