Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Lk 3:15-16, 21-22

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Mary Cluderay

Published: January 10, 2016

Jesus joins the people going out to John the Baptist in the gesture of repentance. We can contrast this scene with the one we witnessed recently on the Feast of the Holy Family where Jesus aged twelve confronts Mary, Joseph and the temple Doctors in a confident statement> Jesus asks: “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” We remember too the concluding lines “Jesus went down with Mary and Joseph and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority.”

We can reflect and pray about all that must have happened in those years. We know that “Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.” We can see that Jesus is ready now to respond again to his Vocation described in the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel: “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son who is nearest to the Father’s heart who has made Him known.”

It is this nearness to the Father which draws Jesus to join the others as they enter the waters of the river Jordan. From this time on, Jesus will always be with the crowds of men, women children, and all humanity, as he reveals to them the Father. How fitting then that St Luke describes the moment when Jesus hears his Father’s affirmation: “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.”

John the Baptist, described later by Jesus as “the greatest born of women” has already realised that there must be an even more powerful message, a person greater with a deeper understanding of God, a symbol stronger than water: ”I baptise you with water....... he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire!” His words reach their climax as he says of Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God.”

There is so much depth in this account of the Baptism of the Lord. We are called to notice that Jesus is “in prayer” after his own Baptism and he listens to his Father’s words and the Holy Spirit enfolds Jesus. He accepts his Baptism as a sign and a commitment to follow in John the Baptist’s footsteps, to transform this proclamation and to begin his mission of bringing all humankind to experience and know God’s unconditional Love and Mercy:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be destroyed, but may have eternal life.”

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, we thank you for our own Baptism as we commit ourselves to follow Jesus and to be faithful to His message of Love and Mercy.

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