The Baptism of the Lord
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10;
Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38 and Mark 1:7-11
Most of us were infants when we were baptized and had to rely on our parents, godparents, and all who were present to tell us about the events of that day. We learned just how beautiful we looked in our white garments, how we cried when the priest or deacon poured water on our foreheads, and the great party we had afterward. On that day, many of us were unaware that we were claimed by Jesus Christ to become a member of His Church on the day of our baptism, and the stain of Original Sin was wiped clean from us as the Holy Spirit entered into our souls.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Why was Jesus baptized? He was conceived by the Holy Spirit without Original Sin and its effects. Why then did He need to be baptized?
In the first reading, we hear a prophecy from Isaiah, announcing what exactly the Messiah is going to do and that He will be the chosen one and pleasing to God.
Next, we hear in the second reading a speech of Peter, who gives a short history of Jesus and how, “He went about doing good things and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Lastly, Mark’s account of Christ’s baptism echoes the readings we heard during the Season of Advent. John is the one who precedes Jesus and washes away, not sin, but obscurity and anonymity. We also heard during Advent the pleas from Israel through the prophet Isaiah, “O that You would tear open the heavens and come down.” In today’s Gospel narrative, we hear, “On coming up out of the water He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him.” Jesus comes out of the water just as the beloved people of Israel had come up out of the waters of the Jordan into their new land and their new identity. Jesus is the new Israel who has torn through mystery and now offers true identity to all the beloved of God.
Jesus is announced as the beloved of God, and so are all those who are incorporated, enrolled, united, and baptized in Him. He is really ordained by the gestures of John and the words of God. Today, Jesus will begin His public ministry and profess the Kingdom of God to everyone. Today Jesus understands His mission clearly and lives it faithfully and publicly every moment for the rest of His life on earth.
Question of the Day: Will you renew your baptismal promise and love, honor, and serve the Lord all the days of your life?
Prayer: “John saw Jesus approaching him, and said: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”