promised to Abraham’s descendants, an image of eternal life. The
promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.
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.
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.”
Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of
St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteous-
Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.
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.”
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
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.
From then on, it is possible “to be born
of water and the Spirit”
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.
Baptism in the Church
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
25 St. Ambrose,
2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; cf.