“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” – Matthew 3:16-17
Why did Jesus decide to be baptized in the Jordan River? Is it because it is holy? The answer is the opposite. The Jordan River became holy because Jesus decided to be baptized in it. There’s a big difference between the two. We are not baptized because we are children of God; we became children of God because we were baptized. We are loved not because we are beautiful; we became beautiful because we are loved. Very few people appreciate that.
We tend to believe that we are entitled to what we have. No one is entitled. It is not a right to be baptized, it is a gift. It is not a right to be born to a catholic country, it’s a gift.
Your first gift is to be born. Your second gift is the freedom of choice. Freedom is a gift because you can even choose not to believe in God. Can you imagine, God created you and God has given you the freedom not to choose Him? That’s a gift!
Your third gift is being part of a community. It’s a gift, it is never a right. Many are given the chance to be a part, but very few remain. To be an authentic Christian, you have to be a part of the community. Why? Because it is so easy to believe that you are doing well if you are alone.
To be baptized is a gift, never a right. But because we tend to believe that it is a right that we are entitled to, we take it for granted. When we renew our baptismal vows, hopefully we realize that we are like the Jordan River – murky, ugly and yet God has chosen us. And because God has chosen us, we are not simply beautiful, we are holy.
God has chosen us not because we are beautiful. We are made beautiful because God has chosen us. You are holy because you are set apart. Imagine what you can do if you live according to your calling.