Our worship liturgy this Sunday is a celebration of the Baptism of our Lord. As the gospel of Matthew (Mt 3:13-17) narrates, Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. At first, John refused saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” But Jesus said to John in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
“It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” which John understood so clearly from the mouth of the Immanuel, God-with-us! In his refusal, John knew that Jesus did not need the baptism he had been administering to people because Jesus is not a sinner like you and me. But when Jesus said, “it is fitting for us fulfill all righteousness,” humility came to mind like what the Incarnation is all about – God so loved us that He became human like us to save us. His baptism is also about the Son of God who embraced John’s baptism. Though He was God, He humbled Himself to take on our humanity.
Humility is something divine that drives godly prosperity. St. Augustine once said: “If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless.”
Humility is not an easy virtue to live up in our consumeristic and competitive world. With the abundance of options and alternatives the world has to offer, it is easy and more convenient to run away from what is more sublimely and amazingly divine, even if they offer far way greater benefits to human life. The ‘instant coffee’ mentality, which finds satisfaction in technology, paves a clear pathway to a sense of pride due to self-fulfilling level of comfort.
But the many ‘what if’ scenarios come to mind. What if humility prevailed in spousal disputes and couples insisted, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” for the sake of our children.” What if humility prevailed among leaders of conflicting or warring nations, and they declared to the entire world, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” for the sacredness of life and peace. There are so many ‘what-if” scenarios for humility to take its rightful reign for all to see and reap the beauty of peace and genuine prosperity.
Is that possible? It’s a resounding “Yes” because the same gospel continued to show what truly happened when Jesus humbled himself to embrace John’s baptism. “Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”