Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: the Baptism of the Lord

Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka

Each Luminous mystery reveals a different aspect of Jesus’ mission in the world. They highlight his divine
origin and nature. Meditation on the first Luminous mystery, the Baptism of the Lord, begins with
reading what we know about Jesus’ Baptism drawn from Matthew 3:13-17. We can start our meditation
with, why did Jesus need to be baptized in the first place?” If Baptism is the initiation into the Body of
Christ, why was it necessary for the divine embodiment of Christ to go through this ritual? Even John the
Baptist tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
Baptism is the beginning of our spiritual and community life in Christ. We celebrate Baptism in Church,
out in the open. The community sees the newly baptized entering the faith-filled community regardless
of age. As a community, the words of the rite carry this public sense as we express great joy as we
welcome the new member. Jesus was around thirty years old when baptized. People knew him as the
carpenter’s son, but there was little notice beyond that. His Baptism changed that. He went public. The
Baptism of the Lord reveals Jesus as the “Son of the Father.” The Gospel of Matthew reads, “After Jesus
was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw
the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens,
saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” God the Father is who sends him.
Like us, Jesus submits to a way of life. At our Baptism, we begin a mission of Christian living through our
own words or words of our parents and godparents. We begin a path toward our salvation and the
salvation of those around us. Jesus started his saving mission with Baptism at the Jordan. As Jesus came
to be one of us, he experienced many things about being human. One of them was Baptism.
As we meditate on this mystery, the Catechism says, “The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance
and inauguration of his mission as God’s Suffering Servant” (536). He is submitting entirely to his
Father’s will. Christians must go down into the water with Jesus to rise with him. Meditate on how we
can be Christlike and submit entirely to the Father’s will.