The Baptism of the Lord (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22).
This is the final feast of the Christmas season. Having celebrated his birth and his manifestation as the Messiah for all nations, it is appropriate to conclude the season with the event which begins his public ministry.
Our gospel reading contains two verses about the work of John the Baptist. John was a major figure during Advent, for it was he who prepared the way for the coming of Christ. Now we see him as the one who offered baptism to Christ in the Jordan. John clarifies that he himself is not the Christ. He knew he was a servant, one who would point the way to someone ‘more powerful’. John was a strong and effective preacher of forgiveness and new life. Jesus will show his power above all by his works of healing. John alludes to the Spirit who will accompany the work of Jesus and to his new kind of baptism.
The evangelist Luke presents the baptism of Jesus in a unique way. Jesus, who is in no need of conversion himself, shows solidarity with all those coming to John for baptism. Luke hardly mentions then baptism itself but concentrates on the manifestation of the Spirit and on the voice heard. As so often in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is presented as praying after his baptism. It is as if he is at prayer as he awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Most remarkable is Luke’s description of the Spirit ‘in bodily form’, whereby the evangelist insists on the reality of the Spirit’s presence. The vision is seen by all, and the voice similarly to be heard from all. The words are inspired by the Servant Song which is our first reading from the Book of Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant, in whom my soul delights.’
Why did Jesus seek baptism from John?
How similar is John’s baptism to that of Jesus?
Let us seek renewal of the grace of our own baptism.
Let us prepare to accompany Jesus in Luke’s soy of his ministry throughout the coming weeks.
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (John 2:1-12).
This Sunday’s Gospel shows our reluctance to leave the Christmas season behind. It tells of the third of the ‘manifestations’ of Jesus associated with the Christmas season, the others being the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord.
The key to understanding the place of today’s gospel in our liturgy is the statement that ‘He let his glory be seen.’ The Gospel of John contains seven major signs by which the true identity of Jesus, his glory, is made known. The transformation of the water into wine tells us that Jesus brings a new time, a time of richness and fulfilment. An enormous amount of wine is provided. Although the ‘hour’ of Jesus, the hour of his death and resurrection, has not yet come, this sign is a pointer towards the ‘glory’ of Jesus.
The role of the mother of Jesus, who is addressed by Jesus as ‘Woman’, is significant. As in the stories of Jesus’ birth, so here in John, she collaborates with God’s ways in a humble and self-giving manner. She is the woman of the new covenant, as Eve was the woman of the old.
What is the role of the mother of Jesus in the events of our salvation?
What do I take away from the Christmas season as ordinary time takes over?
Pray for the vision to see the hidden glory of God in today’s world.
Pray for those who are searching for the signs of God’s presence.
Fr Adrian Graffy