Scripture: 1st Reading: Is55:1-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps28:1-4,9-10; 2nd Reading: Acts 10:34-38; Gosp. Accl.: Jn1:29; Gospel: Mk 1:7-11
John the Baptist bore testimony to Him. He acknowledged that our Lord was going to succeed him. He proclaimed that our Lord would be more powerful than he was and that he would be unfit to undo the straps of His sandals. He confessed that his own baptism was with water but that the baptism of this One would be with the Holy Spirit.
The description of John was realized at the Baptism of the Lord by the same John at the river Jordan. The word describes it in graphic imageries and details in the following way: "No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’"
The events of this day had already been foretold by prophet Isaiah. He is the servant that Isaiah taught about today, the chosen one in whom his soul delights. Endowed with the Spirit of the Living God, He would bring justice to the nations. He would not impose Hus will but rule over people's hearts with gentleness and compassion. He woukd bring true justice and would never waver.
The Servant of God would be called by the Father Himself to serve the cause of right and be the covenant of the peoples and light of the nations. As Messiah and the Anointed One of God, He would open the eyes of the blind, free captives from prison and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.
His baptism was His public manifestation to Israel. The divine presence was seen in the fact that that heavens were torn open, the Spirit was seen descending on the Lord in the bodily form of a dove and the confirmatory voice of the Father that explained clearly the mystery of the Person of Jesus in relation to the Father and the command of obedience to listen to Him.
At His Baptism, the love of God was shown to us in the meticulous and painstaking way the Father authored our salvation. At that Baptism, we know that Jesus was not just the Son of Mary but that more importantly, the Beloved Son of the Father in whom the Father was well pleased. If before that baptism, peoples and nations listened to the prophets and obeyed their voices, from this baptism, the Son was the One to be listened to and obeyed.
Such is the immensity of the love of this God who we are told today has no favourites but who accepts anybody of any nationality who fears Him and does what is right in His presence. This universal salvation that reaches the ends of the earth has been brought about by our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we rejoice at His baptism today which marked the beginning of His public ministry, let us listen to His voice and enter His peace. As the Messiah sent by the Father, let us conform our wills to His own.
With this Feast, we end the Christmas season that was preceded by the season of preparation, the season of Advent. With it, we begin the ordinary season of the year before Lent. We thank the good Lord for the lessons we have learnt through His word since the beginning of this liturgical year. We re-dedicate ourselves to His, service in the coming months. May His holy will be done in our lives.
Let us pray: "Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you."
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.