Written on: January 8, 2020
Reflection for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
January 12, 2020
Sr. Julia Christine Lanigan, GNSH
Today marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of ordinary time. In the Gospel reading we see Jesus setting out to begin his public ministry. Like each of us when beginning something new, he is seeking to know more clearly who he is and how to embrace his mission.
Jesus chooses to begin by asking John to baptize him, despite John’s reluctance, because “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Righteousness—the careful following of the laws and customs of Judaism—is necessary for his mission.
The Father sees the Son, with all of us gathered into him, coming for repentance/forgiveness.
Jesus sees the heavens opened and the Spirit of God coming upon him.
He—and all present—hear a voice from the heavens saying, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
What was it like for Jesus to experience this incredible, loving response? And for everyone else there? All were familiar with the words of Isaiah about “my chosen one with whom I am well pleased…who shall bring forth justice to the nations.”
Filled with love and zeal, Jesus heads from here to his 40 days in the desert. He takes time to savor this experience and to ponder what it means for his mission:
to bring forth justice to the nations, open the eyes of the blind, free prisoners from confinement and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.
We each have shared this baptism with and in Christ. I am invited to hear the Father say, “You are my beloved child with whom I am well pleased,” to be overwhelmed by this love. We are each also called to share Jesus’ mission “to bring forth justice to the nations…”
Which is more challenging—to deeply experience God’s love and pleasure in me or to work to bring forth justice in our needy world?
For me, both are challenging but neither love nor justice is possible without the other. I am most grateful for the gift of baptism which conferred the power of the Spirit to enable us to experience God’s love and to keep working for justice even when it seems hopeless.
Feature photo: Quino Al/Unsplash