MONDAY, FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
Is 42:1-4,6-7 / Acts 10:34-38; Ps 29:1-4,9-11; Mt 3:13-17
BAPTISM GIVES US AN IDENTITY AND MISSION
When we hear about Jesus’ baptism, a question might be as to why did Jesus receive baptism? Because baptism is for the sinners. That is not what happened to Jesus in the River Jordan. On that occasion, ‘baptism’ meant something different. Firstly, Jesus did not need Baptism. As God, he was sinless and, therefore, had no need to be forgiven or freed from sin. If so, then what was John’s baptism? John’s baptism was accompanied by his preaching ‘a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’ (Mk 1:4). Since Jesus did not need to repent, we look for another reason for his Baptism. When John encountered Jesus at the Jordan, he resisted baptizing him but Jesus responded ‘Allow it now, for this it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness’. Jesus’ Baptism had a symbolic motivation. When Jesus emerged from the Jordan, God’s voice was heard identifying him as ‘my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased’. His Baptism was the second manifestation of his identity as Messiah, a prelude to the mission and ministry that would follow.
In today’s first reading we hear prophet Isaiah’s words of God’s servant. We celebrate how Jesus uniquely fulfilled those words, and we claim those words as true for all the baptized, too. We, too, are called for the victory of justice. We, too, are called to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners out of confinement. We, too, are called to know ourselves as beloved, to know ourselves as sent out on mission to proclaim the good news. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord begins the Ordinary time of the Church’s liturgical season, the mysteries of Christ’s life, death and resurrection that constitute our own Baptism in the Church continue to unfold. Today, let us renew the promises of our baptism. At this turning point, in this new season, let us resolve to renew our life and relive the mission that is entrusted to us in our baptism.
Response: The Lord will bless his people with peace.
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