The Baptism of the Lord. Jan 10, 2021
Isaiah 55: 1 – 11
1 John 5: 1 – 9
Mark 1. 7 – 11
When God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, he had to rely on that Word, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1: 11). He was not hearing repeated confirmations of His Father’s love and concern while out there in the wilderness. God had spoken and He had to believe that Word. In the wilderness there was not the constant reassurance of God’s love.
We, too, need to believe God’s Word to us because sometimes there are periods of silence when we don’t feel God’s presence and we don’t hear His voice reassuring us of his love and concern.
We hear the voice of God in the Scriptures directly, not through a prophet or vision comes in today’s Gospel. God the Father tells Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”. God was pleased that Jesus was taking this first step in the ministry, and he said so. Right there, in front of John and his disciples, he revealed Jesus’ identity and his fatherly love for his Son. That is the primary experience of Jesus at his baptism.
Second experience was a strong confirmation of his own commitment to His Father. He feels convinced that as an adult he should commit himself to His Father. This means, committing himself totally to his life with all its challenges, to his ministry, the project he felt entrusted to him by his Father, to his people as his own brothers and sisters though they were sinful, weak, sinners. He joins with them in public to receive the baptism of repentance. He commits himself not just to one section or sect of humanity. Rather he commits himself to the entire human family, as the children of God. He knew well that it was only an initial symbolic act of surrender or commitment. He had to pass through a life journey full of perils and sufferings. But he commits totally to it with the hop of future fulfillment of God’s promises.
At every Christian Baptism, this is what should happen, in each individual. Every baptized Christian, like Jesus, must experience first and foremost a firm confirmation that ‘I am the child of God; I am saved; I am called by God for a unique mission; He is always present in me; I am sure I will be one day victorious. Secondly a baptized Christian feels after the Baptism a sense of commitment to the Triune God, to his or her life as it is, to his or her ministry as it is given or chose, and to others as they are. In Baptism we are recommitting ourselves. To worship God in Spirit and in Truth This includes giving special time and space to our personal communion and prayer with God and making public worshipful acts. Also, to work in Spirit and in Truth for our livelihood, earning our resources sincerely, possessing them and saving them with justice.
The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity and mission. First, it reminds us of who we are and whose we are. By Baptism we become the adoptive sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven, and temples of the Holy Spirit. We become incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made sharers in the priesthood of Christ.. Hence, “Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments”.
Jesus’ baptism reminds us of our mission. To experience the presence of God within us, to acknowledge our own dignity as God’s children, and to appreciate the Divine Presence in others by honoring them, loving them and serving them in all humility. To live as the children of God in thought, word, and action so that our Heavenly Father may say to each one of us what He said to Jesus: “You are My beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.” Being “God’s child” means that we are to let His thoughts direct our thoughts, His mind control our mind, His concerns be our concerns.
In the Church, we all share the same intimate connection with Christ; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and so of each other. To lead a holy and transparent Christian life and not to desecrate our bodies (the temples of the Holy Spirit and members of Jesus’ Body by impurity, injustice, intolerance, jealousy or hatred. To accept both the good and the bad experiences of life as the gifts of a loving Heavenly Father for our growth in holiness. To grow daily in intimacy with God by personal and family prayers, by reading the Word of God, by participating in the Holy Mass, and by frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To be co-creators with God in building up the “Kingdom of God” on earth, a Kingdom of compassion, justice, and love, and to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In other words, He has called us to help others to see, through the love that we show and the help that we give, that God loves them, that He invites them, too, to be His sons and daughters, and that He wants to be their Helper and Strengthener through all the troubles that life in this world can bring.
This is the day for us to remember the graces we have received in Baptism and to renew our Baptismal promises. On the day of our baptism, as Pope St. John Paul II explains, “We were anointed with the Oil of Catechumens, the sign of Christ’s gentle strength, to fight against evil. Blessed water was poured over us, an effective sign of interior purification through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We were then anointed with Chrism to show that we were thus consecrated in the image of Jesus, the Father’s Anointed One. The candle lighted from the Paschal Candle was a symbol of the light of Faith which our parents and godparents must have continually safeguarded and nourished with the life-giving grace of the Spirit.” This is also a day for us to renew our Baptismal promises, consecrating ourselves to the Holy Trinity and “rejecting Satan and all his empty promises,” which our profane world is constantly offering us through its mass-media of communication. Let us ask Our Lord today to make us faithful to our Baptismal promises. Let us thank Him for the privilege of being joined to His mission of preaching the “Good News” by our transparent Christian lives of love, mercy, service, and forgiveness.
When God gives us a promise at least once, hang on to that promise. You don’t need to be reassured all of the time.
God Bless. Have a blessed Sunday.