We, too, are beloved of the Father
Reflections on the readings for the Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2021): IS 42:1-4,6-7; PS 29:1-2,3-4,9-10; ACTS 10:34:38; MK 1:7-11
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Baptism is essential for us as Christians. It is the sacrament that invites us into the life of Christ and His Church. As sisters and brothers of our Savior, we, too, are beloved of the Father.
The Baptism of the Lord has been marked from the early centuries of the Church, although it was first considered part of the Epiphany celebration. At that time, the coming of the magi, the baptism of Jesus, and His miracle at Cana were all acknowledged within the same feast. Not until the 20th century was the Baptism of the Lord recognized with a separate feast day. Its significance is clear in that, unlike many events in Jesus’ life, it is recounted in all four of the Gospels. It appears in the very first chapter of Mark right after we are introduced to St. John the Baptist who was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for sin. “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him. And a voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased’” (Mark 1:9-11).
The Son of God clearly had no need to repent of anything on His own account. But He greatly desired those who saw and heard about Him to understand the need for us to turn away from sin. John the Baptist knew that what he was doing was actually preparing the Jewish people for the arrival of the Messiah. This would have its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Baptism is essential for us as Christians. It is the sacrament that invites us into the life of Christ and His Church. As sisters and brothers of our Savior, we, too, are beloved of the Father. And, when we follow in Jesus’ way, we, too, please the Father. In the waters of the Jordan River, the Son of God and of man showed us how He would drown our sins. Yet Christ did not do this simply with water, but ultimately with His own blood that would flow from His wounds as He stretched out His arms on the cross.