CCC 536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.1 Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death.2 Already he is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.3 The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.4 The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”.5 Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened”6 – the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.
CCC 608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.7 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.8 Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”9
CCC 618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.10 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.11 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,12 for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.”13 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.14 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.15
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.16
CCC 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.17 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.18 From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit”19 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.20
CCC 1551 This priesthood is ministerial. “That office. .. which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service.”21 It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all.22 “The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.”23
CCC 1570 Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way.24 The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all.25 Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.26
1 Jn 1:29; cf. Is 53:12.
2 Cf. Mk 10:38; Lk 12:50.
3 Mt 3:15; cf. 26:39.
4 Cf. Lk 3:22; Is 42:1.
5 Jn 1:32-33; cf. Is 11:2.
6 Mt 3:16.
7 Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36.
8 Is 53:7,12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7.
9 Mk 10:45.
10 1 Tim 2:5.
11 GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.
12 Mt 16:24.
13 I Pt 2:21.
14 Cf Mk 10:39; Jn 21:18-19; Col 1:24.
15 Cf. Lk 2:35.
16 St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).
17 Mk 10:38; cf. Lk 12:50.
18 Cf. Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:6-8.
19 Cf. Jn 3:5.
20 St. Ambrose, De sacr. 2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; cf. Jn 3:5.
21 LG 24.
22 Cf. Mk 10:43-45; 1 Pet 5:3.
23 St. John Chrysostom, De sac. 2, 4:PG 48, 636; cf. Jn 21:15-17.
24 Cf. LG 41; AA 16.
25 Cf. Mk 10:45; Lk 22:27; St. Polycarp, Ad Phil. 5,2:SCh 10,182.
26 Cf. LG 29; SC 35 § 4; AG 16.