Sunday 13 January 2019

The Baptism of the Lord 2019

The Baptism of the Lord 2019

The readings for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2019, note there are alternate readings for both the first and second readings, and the Responsorial Psalm:

First Reading Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 or 
                     Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 
Responsorial  Psalm 1-4:1-4, 24-25, 27-30 Response 1a or
                     Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10 Response 11b
Second Reading Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7 or
                         Acts 10:34-38 
Gospel Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Including the three optional readings we have a lot of content that we can use to reflect upon this week. In fact, we could spend several weeks reflecting on these passages and still not do them justice. But I will in this short reflection, try and bring us so paints that struck me and will hopefully be of value to you. 

From the opening of the first option for reading one we have:

“Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

These are the words of the good shepherd to his flock, we are that flock. God is the creator and in this case restorer of life. God is encouraging us to hope, to believe. We might me strangers in a strange land, but God is with us. And in his compassion, he promises to alleviate sadness and send forth his mercy. Jesus came to renew the people of God, he came to fulfill what the prophets had foreseen. We are God’s people. When we turn to the second option for the first reading God states:

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him.”

Jesus came and as God’s son he provides the redemption we need. He healed both physically and spiritually. And he can still heal us body, mind, and spirit. If we are open to him and his will. He came that we might have freedom and that we could become children of God. But we are in training, we are called to be saints. We are called to reject evil and pursue good. And we are reminded in the reading from Acts that Jesus will ultimately bring peace and justice to the earth, even if we never see it in our life time. And finally, we come to this weeks gospel reading:

“John answered all of them saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’”

Can you picture it, Jesus in line, awaiting his baptism and he hears these words? Then the crowd parts and it is Jesus’s turn to be baptized. After Jesus was baptized, he spent time in prayer. Do we take time after communion to pray, do we take time after mass to pray? Do we use prayer to bookmark mass, our day our week? We are called to live reconciled to God, we are called to strive to be saints. We are children of God, and our sacramental reality of communion and confession should be ever drawing us nearer to God, and to becoming the best version of ourselves. 

And that is my prayer for you my readers this week, that you will feel the call, take up the challenge and work out becoming saints, work at becoming the best version of yourself.

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