January 12, 2020 Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Welcome Father Cyril Today’s Readings: Is 42:1-4, 6-7 | Acts 10:34-38 | Mt 3:13-17

A story of radical kinship, one who was ordained as “A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare[ing] the way of the Lord, mak[ing] straight his paths.” (Is 40:3, Mt 3: 3) and the One who was born into human history to reconcile creation and restore peace. Today’s readings remind us who we are created to be, how we are to set out into the world, and they give us an example of how Jesus calls us to serve in an extraordinary capacity.

The Baptism of Jesus is our baptism. It is a calling forth of a servant with whom God is well pleased and in whom the Spirit rests (Is 42:1). Let us not forget that God is well pleased with each one of us and the Spirit is with us! Jesus’ baptism marked his entry into public ministry, a radical ministry of compassion for the marginalized and imprisoned. A ministry of truth and healing with a message of peace. A ministry that was attacked and subverted by the most learned of religious leaders. A radical ministry that has spanned the test of the ages giving us hope to persevere through challenges and celebrate the joys of our lives while we continue to love and be loved by those whom we encounter.

As I prayed with these readings, I was struck in a particular way by the interaction between John the Baptist and Jesus. That day, on the Jordan River, the missions of two cousins met in a seemingly extraordinary request, baptism for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. John, stunned, asks “why are you coming to me?” He knew his passion and purpose was to “prepare the way” for Jesus. I can imagine that this request from Jesus felt daunting. I wonder if John felt inadequate to complete the task. When I put myself into this story, I imagine my reaction would be to say, “that’s above my pay grade” or “not my job.” This is usually my initial reaction when I’m out of my comfort zone or when the path I had envisioned is drastically changed. It’s my way of relinquishing responsibility to those whom I think are better positioned for the task at hand.

Was this to be the day that John’s mission ended, and Jesus’ began? I don’t think so! Jesus’ request invites John into a new purpose. He says to John “thus it is fitting for US to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15) Jesus’ invitation pointed to John’s innate holiness and ability to serve God. It recognized John’s role in preparing the way and called John into service with Christ. […]

It is for this purpose that Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Baptism. The Gospel calls us to live a life which will challenge us and push us out of our comfort zones. At our baptism we are claimed by Christ and restored to the holiness which reflects God’s image. We are given the graces we need to follow Jesus and are anointed into service with Him. With faith we step forward each day to do important work that might very well be above our pay grade. However, we do so with the knowledge that God has “called [each of us] for the victory of justice…as a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, and to [bring prisoners and those who live in darkness out]. (Is 42:6-7).

Today we celebrate Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of his public ministry. Let us also take time to contemplate our own baptism and re-commit to living our baptismal call daily. As we work for justice in our own way, let our immediacy of action keep Christ’s radical message of truth smoldering in our hearts and the hearts of those we meet.

My dear sisters and brothers my prayer for you today is a humble knowledge of your own dignity as you work for justice and a recognition of the gift of dignity that you give to others by your love. ~Amen

Source of reflection: Jane M.Cruthirds, on https://www.catholicwomenpreach.org/preaching/01122020 Source of image: “The Baptism of Christ”, postcard, ca. 1916, of a painting by James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons

News

  • 12 January - After mass, join our first social gathering of the year and spend some time with your fellow parishioners and good food! If you can, please bring a dish to share. You might also consider helping the team in setting up (from 12:30 on) or cleaning up afterwards.
  • 19 January - Next scheduled opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation aka confessions, after mass.