Baptism of the Lord
In every one of the Bourne movies critical events occur in water. The very first scene has Jason floating in water of the coast of Marseilles, France. Marie drowns in his arms in the opening scenes of the second movie. The last installment shows how he was tortured in water to surrender his identity. Water haunts him to an awakening while being pursued in Moscow. His awakening leads to remembering his true identity and repentance for the first people he assassinated. The final scene in the chase trilogy has Jason leaping from a building into the east river in New York City.
Water is a key element in the series. It can save and it can kill. Jason’s true identity, David Webb, was killed by threat of drowning in the training centre. But he was saved by water after his failed assassination mission on the boat. His relationship with Marie ended in water after she was shot and they plunged into the river. Finally in the water of the East River Jason, his true identity known and his false identity renounced, he makes his final escape.
This thriller series is a parable of our baptism.
Paul says that through baptism “all of us who have been baptized, have been baptized into his death. Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death.” Rom 6: 3-4. Christians are comfortable with the cleansing aspect of Baptism but less so with the lethal aspect. Adult baptism by full immersion, perhaps in a lake, reminds us that a baptism is also a ritual drowning. By mature Christian spiritual practices we gradually drown the parts of our life that are driven by fear, shame and wrath.
By suffering the pain of these passions without acting them out or repressing them we weaken the false identity they have created within us that we are not God’s beloved. In this way we suffocate the sin based identity, which is reinforced by our continually avoiding the legitimate pain and growth of life. We do so because of a distorted thought that God’s beloved shouldn’t feel such things.
Day by day as we pour the water of spirituality, the water of baptism, we slowly drown out the mental, emotional and instinctual complexes that impair our lives. We gradually become more and more sober as love diffuses within us. This is the result of experiencing our true identity. Our deepest and truest identity is that we are God’s beloved. We are sinners, but we are more beloved that we are sinners. God’s love is our deepest identity not our sin.
Because of Jesus’ baptism God’s love flows into our baptism. Let us rejoice in its cleansing and trust in its drowning power that we may be Bourne again.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director of OMI Lacombe Canada Province
Feel free to contact Fr. Mark for advice about discernment and vocation direction. He can meet with you by phone to conduct a short vocation assessment to help you find your way. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an appointment.