The Baptism of the Lord
Sunday January 10, 2016
Lectionary: 21 (NAB Translation)
We celebrate the official end to the great season of Christmas with this week’s Solemnity.
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
The first reading from the prophet Isaiah returns to a period where we placed a lot of our focus for first readings in the last few months of the previous liturgical year. This message would have also come as a surprise because of the history and reputation of the pagan emperor, Cyrus, is being referenced as the servant of God. Isaiah isn’t exactly giving him an endorsement, but using Him to get their freedom.
For us, this is more symbolic of the work of the Lord, the one coming to bring Justice for all people. The end of this reading becomes a direct challenge to us as well. We become a missionary church that must be a light to all the nations and open the eyes of the blind. That great light we talked about last week becomes an incredible experience that transcends all parts of our life.
Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10.
R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
In the second reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we hear a proclamation from Saint Peter about how God truly intends to work beyond His people and Church. The power in the waters of baptism are anointed to bring forth salvation for all people, not just a select few. Before Peter was able to reach this realization, he had to be prepared by a vision in order to help him reconcile with the non-Jewish followers to come. Sometimes in our own life, we put up walls as to who should and shouldn’t receive the good news of Jesus. Often it’s out of convenience and fear of the uncomfortable.
CF. Mark 9:7
- Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
This week’s Gospel from St Mark is a short story at the center of this week’s celebration of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist. This is one of the most powerful accounts and experiences witnessed by a large number of people in the entire Bible. At this very moment, is the only time when the Holy Trinity becomes present to people in physical manifestation. There is the Incarnate Jesus in the water, the Holy Spirit manifest as a dove, and the audible Voice of God that proclaims that this truly is His beloved Son. What a powerful experience.
We also learn a catechetical reason for our practice of infant baptism. Jesus does not do any public ministry until He has been baptized, and it shows us that it is the gateway for the new life in Him. This is a great time to look back on the blessings of our own baptism and reflect on how its graces have helped us in life.
My favorite line is at the beginning when Luke speaks of the expectancy of the hearts of the people. In this Jubilee of Mercy, we pray to have faithful hearts that respond to the heart of Jesus from the call of our baptisms.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
- God the Father praises his Son at his baptism. Have you offered words of praise to your family members recently?