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Saturday, 08 January 2022 15:02

The Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism of the Lord 

Year C 

Readings: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 or Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Titus 2:11-14,3:4-7 or Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16,21-22


You are my Son, the Beloved

Fr Prakash Menezes SVD 150Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and, with it, conclude the Christmas season. Last week we celebrated Jesus’ manifestation to the world as the Light of the Nations, and today we celebrate the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus begins his ministry with his baptism through John the Baptist in the river Jordan. The event of Jesus’ baptism is fairly spectacular: the evangelist says, “while Jesus, after his own baptism, was at prayer, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’” Jesus is declared by God the Father as God’s own beloved son, and this confirmation is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

The Church invites us to join in Jesus’ public ministry as we move into the ‘Ordinary Time’ of the Church’s liturgical year. This ordinary time invites us to walk with Jesus, as he travels around Judea and Galilee; preaching, teaching, healing and sharing the good news of God’s love for all. The Gospel reading for tomorrow from Mark (1:14-20) tells us that, Jesus went to Galilee and began preaching the good news of the arrival of the reign of God.

The feast of the Baptism of the Lord has very strong significance. It empowers Jesus not only to begin his ministry, but also strengthens him to stand strong with his identity as the ‘beloved son.’ The confirmation by God the Father gives Jesus his identity and shows forth his purpose. When Jesus hears that confirmation, it allows him to begin and carry on God’s work of sharing God’s love to all whom he comes in contact. The life of Jesus is unique and filled with challenges. But he carries on because he is God’s ‘beloved son.’

Each one of us, through our own Baptism, are the ‘beloved’ children of God. Each one of us are confirmed by God (may not be as spectacularly as Jesus!) as God’s own. So, each one of us are called to live like Jesus. We are called to follow Jesus and share the good news of the love of God. Each one of us are to be an example of God’s unconditional love for all.

How do we do that in a world, which is filled with glamourous examples of ‘love’ which is far removed from the unconditional love of God? How can we respond to the media which is portraying ‘instant’ love and ‘married at first sight’(!)? How shall we react to the social media which is filled with hate and racist statements and building walls? How can we promote genuine love of the ‘beloved son’ in our own lives? How can we break away from the illusionary portrayals of love by the mass media communication? It is a great challenge, especially when we are blinded and deafened by the bright lights and the loud noises of all that is happening around us. We may feel alone in this fast lane, wide world, but we are not alone. God has affirmed us as God’s ‘beloved children’ as God affirms Jesus’ sonship today. So, may this feast encourage us to feel strengthened and be filled with God’s Spirit as Jesus was. Amen.

Last modified on Saturday, 08 January 2022 15:18

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