Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Mark 1:7-11

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Terry Davis

Published: January 11, 2015

For this Feast, the words of the Gospel that I pray will echo in my heart and will find room in our world and in our daily living. "You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased."

I had a professor in an early college course who knew that we would be teachers and hoped we would hear the following advice. "So much about our society tears children down and diminishes their potential, that the call of any teacher is to give children a strong sense of their worth. Go ahead and, against common wisdom, give them big heads. Let their sense of pride swell. It is your job to counteract a world that will highlight their mistakes and limitations." In the many years I have lived since then, the wisdom of this advice has been a profound guide.

As Jesus rises from the waters of the Jordan, cleansed by John's Baptism, he hears words of love and encouragement. I believe the same words were lovingly whispered to us at our Baptism and they reveal an image of the God who loves us. The Old Testament has many tender images of God, who holds us to his cheek, who delights in us and who loves us as his own. This feast reminds us of who we are and to whom we belong.

Like, Jesus, we are named and claimed at our Baptism by a God of tenderness, love and gentle presence.

Cardinal Bernadine was giving a retreat and addressed the call to examine our image of God. He acknowledged that as a child, he thought God was the one who saw him sneak into the cookie jar and noted this in a book of sins. However, as an adult, he realized that God was the one telling him, "Take another." You might take some time to ask yourself who God is for you and what is the image of God that you hold. Imagine knowing and believing in a God who is always whispering, “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased."

The homily given by Pope Francis on Christmas Eve resonates with the same insight: “The Christian response cannot be different from God’s response to our smallness. Life must be met with goodness, with meekness. When we realize that God is in love with our smallness, that he made himself small in order to better encounter us, we cannot help but open our hearts to him, and beseech him: 'Lord, help me to be like you, give me the grace of tenderness in the most difficult circumstances of life, give me the grace of closeness in the face of every need, of meekness in every conflict.'"


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