Read LK 3:15-16, 21-22 The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.
We commonly say that the sacraments are signs that effect what they signify. That’s a fancy way of saying that they do what they say they do. When we pray the words—and do the prescribed actions using the appropriate objects—we bring about a promised result. Sounds kind of like magic, but it isn’t a question of magic, but of faith, since the "automatic" aspect of the sacrament is the promise of Jesus to do something wonderful in our lives. This presumes a certain integrity or truthfulness in the sacraments. We can trust them because they are more than just human words and actions: they are the love of God active in human life.