Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS SON AND SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD
- Isaiah 42:1-4. 6-7;
- Psalm 28:1-4. 9-10. R/ v. 11;
- Acts 10:34-38
- Matthew 3:13-17
1. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Liturgical Year A. Like Christmas and Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord. Christmas is about the revelation of the Lord as God, Savior and Bringer of Peace to sinful men! Epiphany is about the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world! The Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord as Son and Suffering Servant of God!
The gospel today tells us that after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon him and a voice from heaven said:
“This is my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on him.” (Mt3:17; SM)
These words of God the Father echoes Isaiah 42:1 of the first reading:
“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.”
The Baptism of the Lord is about the revelation of the Lord as Son and Suffering Servant of God! As Son and Suffering Servant of God, he is to love and serve, to suffer and sacrifice, and to sanctify and save the world!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first verse of the first reading echoes the last verse of the gospel! The first reading tells us about the Suffering Servant of God. It is the first of four Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah! It tells us that the Suffering Servant will bring justice, mercy and salvation to the nations! (CSB; NJB) Thus we read in the first reading:
“I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations. …. He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame. …. 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.” (Is 42:1. 3. 6b-7; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Ps 28:11; SM)
Peace, Shalom, Salvation! The responsorial psalm tells us to give glory to God and to pray for peace! It echoes the song of the angels in Luke 2:14 which we read at Christmas Midnight Mass:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor.” (Lk 2:14; SM)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to give glory to God. (vv. 1-2; SM) The second stanza tells us that the glory of God can be seen in creation, in nature and particularly in the storm! (vv. 3-4. 9a; SM) And the third stanza tells us to give glory to God as eternal king! (vv. 9b-10; SM) And verse 11 which concludes the psalm and from which the response is taken tells us to pray for peace! Peace, Shalom, salvation! (CSB; NJBC)
4. The second reading tells us that salvation is not only for the Jews, but it is also for the pagans! Salvation is not only for the good and holy people; it is also for the bad and unholy people! 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)
5. In two weeks time we will have “infant baptism” in our parish! The Baptism of Jesus tells us about our own baptism! When we are baptized the Holy Spirit will come upon us and we will become the sons and servants of God. We are to love and serve God and to love and serve our neighbor.
Our infants are too young to have faith and to love and serve God and neighbor. They are baptized in the faith of their parents and godparents. It is the duty of the parents and godparents to teach them the faith and to teach them to love and serve God and neighbor, so that they will grow up to be good Christians to know, love, and serve God and to be happy with God forever; and to know, love and serve their neighbor and to be happy with their neighbor forever!
This is the meaning of life! This is why we are in this world! This is why we are on earth! This is why God created us and saved us! This is the secret of happiness! And this begins at baptism! A blessed feast day of the Baptism of the Lord to all of you! Amen!