Why was Jesus baptized? Surely, not for the forgiveness of sins. Rather, by his baptism, Jesus identifies with us; he takes on our shortcomings. Through his baptism we identify with Jesus: the words spoken by God about Jesus—“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”—are spoken about us as well.
To know that, like Jesus, we are beloved of God is both awesome and frightening. What do we fear? Perhaps our fear is our inability to accept that the light of God shines within each of us. God’s affirmation of Jesus signals what the mission of Jesus is about. It is a mission that welcomes everyone without preconditions. Somewhere along the way, our experience might have taught us that we had to prove ourselves to parents, family, friends, or colleagues. We may think we also have to prove ourselves to God. Not so! God loves us because we are God’s sons and daughters—indeed heirs, as Paul tells us in the second reading.
In today’s Eucharist, God once again affirms God’s unconditional love for us. We have the opportunity to respond to God’s love. Receiving the Eucharist dispels the fears we may have and gives us the courage to let our light shine, reaching out to others so that they too may know that they are beloved of God.