‘Let us love one another’
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 “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today as we celebrate this day venerating the Baptism of the Lord, we need to see that the unfathomable love of God stretches through time and eternity.
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” With these words, and the pouring or immersion in water, God’s people are initiated into the Christian faith. Jesus Himself allowed St. John the Baptist to baptize Him in the River Jordan, just as he had so many others. However, unlike them – or us – there is no question of Christ repenting of sin. He is sinless. He is the Son of God made man. But from the beginning, our Lord wanted to show us the way. We need Baptism to remove sin from our souls, both original and personal. It is through the authority of the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that we become one with Christ. And it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus who suffered and died for us that we are redeemed.
Today as we celebrate this day venerating the Baptism of the Lord, we need to see that the unfathomable love of God stretches through time and eternity. He does not need our love in return, but He desires it because, basically, it reveals that we want for ourselves exactly what He wants for us: life everlasting with God. In the reading from the Acts of Apostles, we hear St. Peter addressing the household of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Roman soldiers had carried out the order of Pontius Pilate to execute Jesus. But Peter wants these people to understand that God longs for men, women, and children of every nation to come to Him. All are welcome into the Church now and into heaven when God calls them home. All those who open their hearts and souls to our Lord, offering Him their love, then giving that same love to one another, are truly His children. Let us thank God for the wondrous sacrament of Baptism.
Suggested missionary action: We pray for all young people and adults in our parish and (arch)diocese who are preparing to be baptized. We also pray for all the infants who are being baptized. And we pray for ourselves – that we always hold fast to our faith and share it with others.