10 January 2016
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Some Christian traditions finish their ‘Christmas season’ with the Feast of the Epiphany (6 January). We in the Catholic Church however conlude the celebration of Christmas with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast is the beginning of the making known of Jesus to Israel and the rest of the world. Today we remember and celebrate the end of His “hidden life” and the start of his public ministry – to preach, to teach and to heal.
But in seeking to be baptised Jesus is associating himself with sinners. In today’s Gospel passage we read of the reaction of John to this (who scandalised by it) but nonetheless Jesus insisted that John should baptise him. Through his baptism in the Jordan Jesus was confirmed as a Son; so too we through baptism are also assured that we too are children of God (cf. Romans 8:15-17).
Just as Jesus was confirmed as the Beloved Son, so too each one of us – through our Baptism – are confirmed as beloved sons and daughters of God. Many Christians fail to realise the great power that has been given them – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Each of us, through baptism, have been called and chosen to make God’s Light shine in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. It is an awesome responsibility but as St Augustine wrote: ‘Jesus did not say succeed, but strive’.
Gregory of Nanianzus wrote: “Christ is baptised, let us descend with him that we may also ascend with him.”
Lord God, thank you for the gift of my baptism. Enlightened by Christ may I share that Light with all others I meet on my pilgrim journey. Amen.