"He went about the entire region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance which led to the forgiveness of sins." —Luke 3:3
Human beings have the tendency to immerse themselves in something. This is the meaning of baptism. We usually think of baptism as a religious term, of being baptized into Christ. Yet we can be baptized into many things. For example, the Bible speaks of being baptized into Moses (1 Cor 10:2) and baptized into pain (Mk 10:38). Alcoholics are baptized into alcohol. They are preoccupied with drinking. Many are immersed in gambling, TV, pornography, sports, eating, smoking, shopping, working, etc.
As we near Christmas, we see millions baptized into consumerism and self-indulgence. Our compulsions tend to become our immersions. In today's Scripture readings, the Church calls us to come out of the Dead Sea of perversion-immersions and get re-baptized. If we have already been baptized into Christ, we don't have to be re-baptized in a Church, but we must be re-baptized into repentance (Mt 3:6) and into the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt 3:11).
We're all living out a baptism. We can't help it. That's the way we're made. We must immerse ourselves in something. However, we defile ourselves if we immerse ourselves into anything other than the living waters of life in Christ and in the Spirit. If, however, we plunge into the waters of the Spirit, we are purified and given new, abundant life. Change immersions.
Prayer: Father, may I let You re-baptize me this Advent.
Promise: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad indeed." —Ps 126:3
Praise: Praise Jesus, Whose own Baptism foretold the graces that awaited each of us.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape series Baptismal Promises on audio AV 83-1, AV 83-3, AV 84-1, AV 84-3 or our video series starting with V-83.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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