Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jesus of Nazareth (2)

A recent question posed in Catholic Forums goes:

"...I, like many other Catholics, have had many questions about our faith of things we don't understand; for instance why was our Lord baptized when He was without sin?..."

Having just read the first chapter of Pope Benedict XVI's "Jesus of Nazareth", the opportune explanation presents itself (as excerpted)

"...Descending into the water, those baptized recognized their own sins and sought to free themselves from the weight of being oppressed by sin. What did Jesus do? Luke, who throughout his gospel pays particular attention to the prayer of Jesus, and constantly presents Him as the One who prays - in dialogue with the Father - tells us that Jesus was at prayer after being baptized. Because of the cross and resurrection it becomes clear to Christians what had occurred: Jesus took on his shoulders the weight of the sin of all humanity; he took it with him into the Jordan. From the beginning of his activity he takes the place of sinners. There begins the anticipation of the cross. He is, so to say, the true Jonah who said to the sailors: take me and throw me into the sea. (Jonah 1:12) The full meaning of the baptism of Jesus, his fulfillment of “all righteousness” (cf Matt 3:15) reviews itself only in the cross: the baptism is the acceptance of death for the sins of humanity, and the voice from heaven "This is my beloved Son” is the anticipated reference to the resurrection. Thus one understands the reason why in his own discourses Jesus uses the word baptism to refer to his own death. (Matt 10:38; Luke 12:50) [p 38]..." /


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