THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD (A) – 12th Jan 2020

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON OF GOD AND SERVANT OF GOD

  • Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7;
  • Psalm 28 (29): 1-4. 9-10. R/ v. 11;
  • Acts 10:34-38
  • Matthew 3:13-17

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today is the last day of the Christmas season. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord; the revelation of the Lord as Son of God and Servant of God.

The gospel today tells us that after Jesus was baptized and when he came out of the water, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him and a voice from heaven said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17; Is 42:1; CSB)

These words of God the Father correspond to the first verse of the first reading on the Suffering Servant of God: This is my chosen servant in whom my soul delights! The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Servant of God.

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jesus Christ is the Suffering Servant of God who gives suffering service. He is to serve, to suffer, and to sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the world!

Indeed, the first reading is the first of four Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah! (Is 49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12) The first reading tells us that the Suffering Servant will be endowed with the Holy Spirit. He will bring justice to the nations, he will be merciful, and he will save the whole world! Thus we read in the first reading:

    “I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations. (Is. 42:2) …. He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame. (v 3) …. I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.” (vv 6-7; SM) 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps 28 (29): 11; SM)

That is, the Lord will bless his people with peace, shalom, salvation!

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza gives glory and power to God. The second stanza tells us that the glory and power of God can be seen in the thunderstorm. And the third stanza gives glory to God as the eternal King of heaven and earth. (CSB) And it is this Lord of glory and power that blesses his people with peace, shalom, salvation!

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that after his baptism (Fuller), Jesus received the Holy Spirit and became the servant of God to save the world! Thus we read in the second reading:

“God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.” (Ac 10:38; SM)       

The second reading also tells us that salvation is not only for the Jews, but salvation is also for the Gentiles (the impure, IBC; the unclean, CCB)! Thus we read in the second reading:

  “It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ – but Jesus Christ is Lord of all men.” (Ac 10:36; SM)    

The Baptism of the Lord is also our baptism. When we were baptized we also received the Holy Spirit and we also became the sons and servants of God. And when we receive the Eucharist we grow as sons and servants of God.

Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his Risen Body and drink his Risen Blood, and our Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us grow as sons and suffering servants of God, to give suffering service, that is, to serve, to suffer, and to sacrifice, in order to sanctify and save the whole world! Amen!

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