Christmas, January 3rd

In today’s First Reading John the Evangelist describes our justification, the grace we receive at Baptism, as “righteousness.” Without that first unmerited grace of baptism all our other acts of righteousness would not be possible: through that grace our sins are taken away. Our fundamental understanding of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity is that he is the Son, begotten, not made, by the Father. God wants us to be his sons and daughters as well, and we become his children through baptism, the start of a new life of grace, a new life meant to grow and become more and more beautiful because we grow to be more and more like God, modeling our lives after God the Son’s.

In today’s Gospel John the Baptist has a moment like he did thirty years earlier, in his mother’s womb, when Mary came (with Jesus in her womb) to visit  Elizabeth and John. John leaped in his mother’s womb, but now, thirty years later, he can point to Jesus and testify he is the Lamb of God. Unlike the other evangelists, John speaks of what John the Baptist experienced upon baptizing Our Lord, not the baptism itself. Through the descent of the Spirit at Baptism John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and we see the connection between baptism and becoming children of God.

The Spirit also descended upon us at our baptism, ushering in a new life. Let’s thank Our Lord today for the gift of that new life by modelling our lives more and more like his.

Readings: 1 John 2:29–3:6; Psalm 98:1, 3cd–6; John 1:29–34.