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314

Part Two

promised to Abraham’s descendants, an image of eternal life. The

promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.

Christ’s Baptism

1223

All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment

in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself

baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.

17

After his resurrec-

tion Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and

make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the

Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to

observe all that I have commanded you.”

18

1224

Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of

St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteous-

ness.”

19

Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.

20

The

Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation de-

scended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and

the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.”

21

1225

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of

Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was

about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to

be baptized.

22

The blood and water that flowed from the pierced

side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist,

the sacraments of new life.

23

From then on, it is possible “to be born

of water and the Spirit”

24

in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from,

if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the

whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed,

in him you are saved.

25

Baptism in the Church

1226

From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated

and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the

crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every

one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your

17 Cf.

Mt

3:13.

18

Mt

28:19-20; cf.

Mk

16:15-16.

19

Mt

3:15.

20 Cf.

Phil

2:7.

21

Mt

3:16-17.

22

Mk

10:38; cf.

Lk

12:50.

23 Cf.

Jn

19:34;

1 Jn

5:6-8.

24 Cf.

Jn

3:5.

25 St. Ambrose,

De sacr.

2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; cf.

Jn

3:5.

232

536

766

849