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Bishops are highly revered and honoured in Nigeria. Once upon a time a bishop officiated in a MASS WEDDING which featured about fifty couples. It turned out to be a very huge celebration with the presence of the bishop adding colour and gusto to the celebration that took place in one of the new parishes in the diocese in question.

After the mass, the bishop was respectfully asked to go to the rectory (the priest’s house) where a sumptuous launch was exclusively served for him. However to the amazement of the priests and the rest of the people of God, the cheerful and unassuming bishop went to sit in the midst of the newly wedded couples at the church’s open ground where launch was also served for everyone. People were stunned to see the bishop eating from the plates of the newly wedded while exchanging pleasantries with them. The parish priest who could not hold it anymore went to the bishop to remind him that his launch was served in the rectory. The bishop turned and told him that he came to identify with the couples and to show them how to eat together and stay together. With these words the parish priest and the other priests present had no other option but to join the bishop in the rare act of identification.

The baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist has been a controverted issue among biblical scholars as well as attentive minds who undertake committed study of the scriptures. Some of the major questions had been: “Why did Jesus Christ go to John for baptism since the baptism of John was that of repentance?” “Who baptized John the Baptist himself or was it that he had no need of the baptism of repentance?” The first question was actually answered by our Lord Jesus Christ when John the Baptist tried to turn down his request for baptism. It will be very apt to present the dialogue here: (the account of Matthew 3:14-15).

John: I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me!

Jesus: Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.

          From the above we understand that the baptism of Jesus Christ was not intended to have the same. effect as it had on the other people that came to John for baptism namely repentance. It was rather a fulfilment of the divine intent. By entering the water of baptism and being dunked by John in the river Jordan a lot of things happened within those few seconds and consequently a lot of lessons are learnt:

In attending to the baptism of John our Lord Jesus Christ showed us the path of humility. At the instance of entering the Jordan, he emptied himself and took our form. He did not count on his equality with God at this needful moment. He took the path which others took. This humility gave birth to another important thing, namely IDENTIFICATION. By humbling himself, our Lord came to identify with our fallen state not because he needed to be emancipated from sin (because he had no sin). Practically we could see it that he came down to wear our shoes. Just like the bishop left his sumptuous launch in the rectory to identify with the newly wedded couples at the open church ground.






As we call to mind the Baptism of Jesus Christ today, we are reminded of our own baptism. There should be an ongoing renewal of our baptism especially going by our promise of renouncing sin and the devil with his promises. Our baptism should always remind us of the renewal we had from the old nature that was formerly in us. (2 Cor.5:17).

May the grace of your baptism be renewed with the celebration of the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fr. Bonnie.



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