ICCH Bulletin of January 9, 2022
January 9, 2022 The Baptism of the Lord
Welcome Father Martin Today’s Readings: Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 40:1-5, 9-11 | Acts 10:34-38 or Ti 2:11-14; 3:4-7 | Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
We have just celebrated at Christmas the arrival of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.
The incarnation of Jesus implies that he had to learn everything as we do, without being able to spare himself any process of growth. He learned to walk hand in hand with Mary; he matured all his deep humanity in his relationships with others. The thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth were years of maturation, of searching and affirmation of his self-consciousness.
In his personal search for his identity, Jesus approached John the Baptist and mingled with his followers. His standing in line to be baptized can be interpreted as a fact that portrays his attempts and his searching.
Luke, the evangelist, put in the mouth of John that the Messiah will baptize with Spirit and fire (Lk 3:16)
The first to be baptized with Spirit and fire is Jesus himself. Baptism is for Jesus the confirmation of his identity.
This event marked a before and after in the life of Jesus. Jesus would no longer return to Nazareth. The baptism will trigger the beginning of his public life.
What was this strong confirmation that it changed everything? “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”
With this identity engraved in fire, Jesus began his public mission filled with the Holy Spirit.
And the essential message that Jesus will transmit in his years of preaching will be the same: to make people believe that they are beloved sons and daughters of God.
Our own baptism is a sacrament that imprints identity. The essence of baptism is exactly that, to make us aware that we are beloved sons and daughters of God. And when we truly believe this, when we live from this deepest truth, everything changes in life.
God works in us from our own humanity. It is very difficult for someone who has never been loved, who is not blessed by anyone, to be able to believe that he/she is loved by God. And, on the contrary, knowing that we live under someone’s blessing empowers us, gives us strength for everything. How good it is to know that someone speaks well of us.
Perhaps it would be good to stop for a moment and remember gratefully the people in our lives who bless us. They make God’s founding blessing credible to us.
And perhaps we can also ask ourselves how we live the mission of blessing, of speaking well of others, of being mediation of God that affirms others, that makes them aware of their profound identity as beloved sons and daughters of God. Our blessing gives others solid ground on which to stand.
Jesus will exercise the public ministry that begins at his baptism along the lines indicated in the first reading (Is 42:1-4, 6-7): Jesus feels called to liberate, to promote justice, not from power (“he will not cry out”), but from caring. How good it is to know that God never gives up on us, that our life always holds hope for God. Even when we lose hope in ourselves, God is attentive to rescue every life (“the bruised reed he will not break”). We are called to be light for one another.
In the second reading (Acts 10:34-38) Peter will express: “ I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Yes, God’s love is universal.
Discovering and living this foundational love of God makes us missionaries. Great joys cannot be kept.
God’s love will only be credible if it goes hand in hand with justice. Faced with the temptation to keep our spirituality in the private sphere, the life of Jesus is a constant effort to make effective the liberation willed by God. Authentic love is translated into deeds, already here, in our today and now; and we well know that even with the smallest gestures of love, God multiplies them and they reach a scope that escapes us.
From there, with the psalm, we sing: “God blesses people with peace.” (Psalm 29)
Today, as a Church, we are immersed in a synodal journey that is rooted precisely in our common baptism, which is what constitutes us as Church.
Celebrating the baptism of Jesus is a good opportunity to renew our own baptism, to listen again in the intimacy of our hearts, until it is engraved in fire in our hearts: “You are my beloved daughter/son”; and to know that we are sent like Jesus to proclaim God’s love and to practice justice.
We are all beloved sons and daughters of God, missionaries on the move.
Source of reflection: Mariángel Marco Teja, on https://www.catholicwomenpreach.org/preaching/01092022 Source of image: “Baptism of Jesus”, Stained glass window at Church of Our Savior, Florida (USA) - (CC BY-SA 4.0) Deisenbe, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Baptism_of_Jesus._Stained-glass_window_at_Church_of_Our_Savior_MCC,_Boynton_Beach,_FL.jpg
- 9 January - Opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confessions will be heard after Mass, in the parish office.