What is it about the Gospel accounts of the Baptism of the Lord, celebrated on the liturgical calendar last Sunday, that gets the speculative juices flowing in liberal exegetes?

I recall as a volunteer in the RCIA being told that Jesus’ Baptism created an “awareness” in Him that He was “graced by God” or some such thing.

Last weekend’s homily by Kenneth Overberg, S.J., at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel gives us another example.

We are told that His Baptism gives “him a deepening sense of being God’s ‘beloved,’ called to live and proclaim Abba God’s loving presence, the Reign of God.”

Later, Overberg tells us it had the effect of “deepening his sense of God’s loving and faithful presence, stirring Jesus’ imagination about how to live life.”

Yet paragraph 105 of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us the purpose of Jesus’s Baptism is “to inaugurate his public life and to anticipate the ‘Baptism’ of his death.” In no way are we taught that He came to a greater understanding of His identity or a “stirring” of His imagination. (Ditto for the pertinent sections of the CCC.) The Lord’s Baptism is a revelation for us, not Him!

What gives?

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