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The Baptism of the Lord

January 12, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:

This is my beloved Son, listen to him.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

The Gospel of Saint Luke 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.  I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.   And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

The Christmas Season is a celebration of many manifestations of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The Incarnation of God as man celebrated on Christmas Day begins the Church’s Liturgical remembrance and proclamation that God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, so that all who believe in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life (John 3:16). This theophany, showing forth God’s love in Jesus Christ does not cease with the Nativity, but it continues and is further expressed and explained through the celebrations of the Epiphany, the Marriage Feast of Cana, and ultimately and most dramatically the Baptism of the Lord.

As this Christmas Season draws to a close we recall that the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and the son of Mary has not only been recognized and endorsed by the lowly of the world, represented by the Shepherds, and by the wise of the world, represented by the Magi, but by God Himself.  The Gospel proclaims that all human voices, even John the Baptist’s testimony is exceeded and reduced to silence by the voice of the Heavenly Father: You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased!   The Father anoints Jesus with the Holy Spirit and identifies Jesus as His Messianic Son, the anointed one.  In doing this on behalf of His Son, God in turn accepts us in Baptism as His adopted daughters and sons in Jesus Christ.  We too become His anointed ones!

Each stage of the Gospel provides more and more testimony regarding the nature and purpose of Jesus Christ.   The Shepherds told us that Jesus laying in the manger is truly and fully human; the Magi acknowledged by their gifts that Jesus is the ultimate King and Priest destined to die for us; and now at His baptism Jesus is revealed by the Father as the faithful Son anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit to establish the kingdom of God on earth by preaching and healing! 

Today’s Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer expresses our belief in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.  The prayer addresses the Father in this way:

You celebrated your new gift of baptism by signs and wonders at the Jordan. Your voice was heard from heaven to awaken faith in the presence among us of the Word made man.  Your spirit was seen as a dove, revealing Jesus as your servant, and anointing him with joy as the Christ, sent to bring to the poor the good news of salvation.

St. Luke’s Gospel is clear that the Baptism of Christ was not a washing away of Jesus’ sins since Jesus is sinless.  The supreme act is the infusion of the Holy Spirit that empowers Jesus to carry out the work of the Father – salvation of the world.  In addition, by His Baptism Christ sanctified the waters of Baptism so that all who are immersed into Christ in Baptism share even now in the power of Holy Spirit and the mission of Christ. 

The Christmas Season reveals the true identity of Jesus, and in turn reveals our identity in Christ through Baptism.  In the goodness of God we are His children by adoption; we are filled with His Holy Spirit; and we are commissioned to extend the Kingdom of God!   Amen!  Amen!

Prosit,

Monsignor Joseph Marino

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