Baptism of the Lord (first Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Readings: Reading 1, Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; Reading 2, Acts 10:34-38; Gospel, Matthew 3:13-17

Baptism of the Lord (first Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Readings: Reading 1, Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; Reading 2, Acts 10:34-38; Gospel, Matthew 3:13-17
Pastoral | 2020 Jan 09 | Fr. Antonio Martínez, OAR | Fr. Antonio Martínez, OAR

In recent weeks we have been celebrating great events: the birth of Jesus, the motherhood of the Virgin Mary, the epiphany of Jesus. This Sunday brings the Christmas season to a close, and we proceed o the Ordinary Time, untill Lent.

For the Christian, however, there is no such thing as ordinary time. Time is a mysterious reality in which we live and God comes to us. It is in the ordinary course of things, in the everyday aspects of our lives, that Jesus comes offering grace and peace. Thus, today’s Gospel presents John the Baptist carrying out his everyday task of preaching repentance and baptizing with water. It is clear that Jesus began by aligning His steps with those of John the Baptist in such a way that he seemed almost to be one of his disciples. He adopted John’s preaching on the divine Kingdom’s imminence and the need for a penitential conversion (metanoia) in order to enter into that Kingdom. He even went so far as to ask John to baptize him.

John does what he has been doing so many times, but now it is somewhat different. He finally recognizes Jesus as God’s Chosen One. The perception of God’s work in our everyday lives is never easy. Even John is aware that at first he did not recognize Jesus as God’s Chosen One. One must have an inner expectation and longing for the Lord. We need to look for God at work in our lives, in the midst of our everyday activities, to know how to recognize him.

The day in which Jesus was baptized by John was, in a sense, the most important day in his life. It was a day of awakening, a day of decision-making, a day in which he answered a call that had been getting louder and louder inside him. Jesus’ baptism was so important that all four Gospels focus on it. For the first time, the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity together are disclosing themselves to the world. In a voice from heaven, the Father is heard. In the form of a dove, the Holy Spirit is manifested. And by the voice and the dove the young man being baptized in the Jordan is revealed as the Incarnate Son of God. In an unmatched divine self-revelation, the most Blessed Trinity is revealing the Son of God as our Savior, and calling us to the baptism he is inaugurating. This manifestation of God is so important because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It tells the whole story about Jesus. The heavens open and touch the earth; God identifies Jesus as his Son and, at the same time, as servant. The beloved is a servant!

Near the beginning of this liturgical year and of the calendar year, the baptism of Jesus signals his journey from life to death. This first revealing chapter of Jesus’ life story -his mission- is set before us. It brings the reality of God-with-us, Emmanuel, as close as it can get. The baptism of Jesus leads us to recall our own baptism, our identification with him. Making the life of his Son-servant our own means living our baptism, our Christening. Because we have been baptized into his death and resurrection, we are servants and sons or daughters of God. The Father in heaven anointed his Son at the Jordan river to go forth on a mission and ministry of justice. We too have been anointed in our own baptism for a similar mission: to act justly and bring justice to those suffering from both the symptoms and causes of injustice.

In recent weeks we have been celebrating great events: the birth of Jesus, the motherhood of the Virgin Mary, the epiphany of Jesus. This Sunday brings the Christmas season to a close, and we proceed o the Ordinary Time, untill Lent.

For the Christian, however, there is no such thing as ordinary time. Time is a mysterious reality in which we live and God comes to us. It is in the ordinary course of things, in the everyday aspects of our lives, that Jesus comes offering grace and peace. Thus, today’s Gospel presents John the Baptist carrying out his everyday task of preaching repentance and baptizing with water. It is clear that Jesus began by aligning His steps with those of John the Baptist in such a way that he seemed almost to be one of his disciples. He adopted John’s preaching on the divine Kingdom’s imminence and the need for a penitential conversion (metanoia) in order to enter into that Kingdom. He even went so far as to ask John to baptize him.

John does what he has been doing so many times, but now it is somewhat different. He finally recognizes Jesus as God’s Chosen One. The perception of God’s work in our everyday lives is never easy. Even John is aware that at first he did not recognize Jesus as God’s Chosen One. One must have an inner expectation and longing for the Lord. We need to look for God at work in our lives, in the midst of our everyday activities, to know how to recognize him.

The day in which Jesus was baptized by John was, in a sense, the most important day in his life. It was a day of awakening, a day of decision-making, a day in which he answered a call that had been getting louder and louder inside him. Jesus’ baptism was so important that all four Gospels focus on it. For the first time, the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity together are disclosing themselves to the world. In a voice from heaven, the Father is heard. In the form of a dove, the Holy Spirit is manifested. And by the voice and the dove the young man being baptized in the Jordan is revealed as the Incarnate Son of God. In an unmatched divine self-revelation, the most Blessed Trinity is revealing the Son of God as our Savior, and calling us to the baptism he is inaugurating. This manifestation of God is so important because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It tells the whole story about Jesus. The heavens open and touch the earth; God identifies Jesus as his Son and, at the same time, as servant. The beloved is a servant!

Near the beginning of this liturgical year and of the calendar year, the baptism of Jesus signals his journey from life to death. This first revealing chapter of Jesus’ life story -his mission- is set before us. It brings the reality of God-with-us, Emmanuel, as close as it can get. The baptism of Jesus leads us to recall our own baptism, our identification with him. Making the life of his Son-servant our own means living our baptism, our Christening. Because we have been baptized into his death and resurrection, we are servants and sons or daughters of God. The Father in heaven anointed his Son at the Jordan river to go forth on a mission and ministry of justice. We too have been anointed in our own baptism for a similar mission: to act justly and bring justice to those suffering from both the symptoms and causes of injustice.

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