Theme: WE ARE BAPTISED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WE BECOME THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD, LOVED BY GOD AND FAVOURED BY GOD
- Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7
- Psalm 28:1-4. 9-10. R. v. ll
- Acts 10:34-38
- Mark 1:7-11
Today we celebrate the feast ofthe Baptism of the Lord. Today is also the last day of the Christmas season. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is also the revelation of the Lord.
St. Mark’s gospel does not have an account ofthe birth ofJesus. In the gospel of Mark today the Lord reveals himself to us as a thirty-year-old adult at his Baptism. There are 3 signs in which the Lord reveals himself to us at his baptism:
(i) the heavens were torn apart
(ii) the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove
(iii) a voice from heaven saying, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.’
In other words, the Lord reveals himself to us that he is not the son of Joseph and Mary, no matter how holy they are! Joseph is only the foster father and Mary is only the virgin mother! The Lord reveals himself to us that he is the Son of God the Father, born not through the marriage of Joseph and Mary, but through the power of the Holy Spirit!
He is the Son of God, loved by God and favored by God!
The ﬁrst reading from Isaiah tells us that as the Son of God, he is like God his Father — like father like son! He is obedient to God his Father and he does the will and work of God the Father. Thus the ﬁrst reading tells us, ‘he will bring justice to the nations, but more than that, he will bring mercy to the nations. He will not cry out or shout. His voice will not be heard in the streets. In other words, he will be gentle! He will not crush the bruised reed, nor quench the wavering ﬂame. In other words, he will be merciful to the sinner. He will not condemn, punish nor destroy the sinner, but he will show mercy to the sinner!
He will bring justice to the nations. He will be the light of the nations. He will open the eyes of the blind. He will free captives from prisons and he will free those living in the darkness of the dungeons — the dark underground prisons that have no windows and no light!
The responsorial psalm takes up this theme of the Son like the Father, obedient to the Father and doing the will and work of the Father. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm says, ‘the Lord will bless his people with peace’! In other words, he will bring peace to the nations!
The second reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us that in his Baptism he was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and he went about doing good and curing all who have fallen into the power of the devil. The second reading also tells us that he brought the good news of peace to all men!
In fact to proclaim the good news was his ﬁrst duty, and the ﬁrst duty of the bishop, and the ﬁrst duty of the priest, and the ﬁrst duty of the Christian!
Today as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Church also invites us to look at our own baptism! Our baptism is the baptism of the Lord himself!
When we are baptized, the heavens also tear open and the Holy Spirit comes down to us and we are born again and we become the sons and daughters of God, loved by God and favored by God!
And as God’s sons and daughters, we are like God, we are obedient to God and we do his will and his works! And like Jesus his Son, we bring justice to the nations. We bring mercy to the nations. We become the light to the nations. We open the eyes of the blind, free captives from prisons and free those who live in darkness in the dungeons, in the underground prisons! We bring peace to the nations! We do good works, cure those who have fallen into the power of the devil and bring the good news of peace to all men!
Today we thank the Lord for revealing himself to us in his Baptism. We also thank the Lord for our own baptism. We thank the Lord for his Holy Spirit and for making us into his sons and daughters and for loving us and favoring us.
Today we also thank the Lord for this Eucharist, for giving us the body and blood of his Son Jesus Christ for us to eat and drink, so that we may grow in his Holy Spirit and so that we may grow as his sons and daughters, and grow to be more like him, obedient to him and do his will and work! Amen
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.