Baptism of the Lord (January 9, 2017)
Today we complete the Church’s celebration of the unbelievable good news that God has fulfilled his promise to be Emmanuel - God with his people.
As we hear Matthew recount the baptism of Jesus, heaven and earth are joined together as the Spirit descends on Jesus and we hear the Father’s voice announce Jesus’ true identity: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
To help us understand the full meaning of the Father’s words, we have also heard the words of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of his prophecy. Jesus is the Servant, the Chosen One, on whom the Father’s favor rests. The Spirit of the Lord is upon him, and he will bring forth God’s justice to all the world.
The wonder of this revelation is that he will bring about this justice with meekness and gentleness, especially toward the downtrodden. Jesus will announce this good news of peace as he goes about going good and healing sinners. He will be light to the blind and freedom for those locked away in darkness. Anyone who reveres God and is willing to live as Jesus teaches can share in God’s gift of peace.
That’s the message we have received and the challenge we are offered by our baptism. Because Jesus wants us to share his very life, the Spirit of God has descended on us and dwells in us, and the Father speaks the same wonderful words to us that he spoke to Jesus: “You are my beloved son or daughter, with whom I am well pleased.”
Our Father has grasped us by the hand and he wants us to be the living signs of his continuing care for all his people, especially the downtrodden. We are to work each day for the victory of justice with great gentleness. In our own way, we are to bring light to anyone who is living in darkness.
Our Father wants to remind us at the beginning of each day: “You are my beloved son or daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” If we take the time to listen to his words each morning, they offer us direction for our day. As we listen, we can ask ourselves: how will I live today as the beloved son or daughter of God? How will I make it evident today that I am thankful that God is pleased with me?
God’s loving word to us has to be an uplifting start to our day! Let us take the time to listen.