John the Baptist, the long-prophesized forerunner of Christ, has been brought into being by God through his miraculous conception to the barren and elderly Elizabeth and been prepared through his whole life by God to announce Christ Jesus. Christ, prepared and reaching His full stature of manhood, travels the 60 miles from Galilee to be baptized by His relative John the Baptist and begin His public ministry.

John the Baptist’s baptismal rituals symbolized a person’s repentance from their sins and the hope that God would forgive them; while a positive step, John’s baptisms lacked the power of the Holy Spirit to remove sin.  Because he is the greatest among men born of women (Matt 11:11), John the Baptist recognizes he is not worthy to baptist the Son of God. Christ, like men in every way except sin, has no need for baptism; He has no sin to repent. Nevertheless, out of solidarity with mankind and in obedience to the Father, Christ submits to be baptized by the unworthy John.

The heavens open up (literally, “ripped” or “torn”) and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and the Father confirms His pleasure with His Son, signaling the long-promised coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist’s many years of austere service to God in the wilderness is rewarded as he is given the consolation to witness the manifestation of the Trinity (John 1:32).

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ’s divinity is confirmed with the manifestation of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Perfection of Virtue, Christ humbles Himself before the Father, accepting baptism, even though He has no sin. Savior of the World, Christ heroically embraces the sins of the world that He will carry to the Cross.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1)  Consider Christ’s unfathomable humility, willingly descending into the flesh and submitting to be baptized as a sinner for the sake of mankind.

2) Achieving excellence in anything requires long and diligent preparation. Pray for Christ to give you the grace to diligently prepare, preparing as He did during the first thirty years of the Incarnation, for the unique purpose for which God created you.

3) A man’s righteousness begins with God’s grace and grows by a man’s willingness to aspire to holiness. Pray for Christ to help you grow in holiness through a dialect life of prayer, engaging in the Sacraments and by constantly battling sin.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant