Today’s Gospel is the final event of the Epiphany: Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan River by John. The fact that Mark begins his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus indicates the importance of this event. In the “renting of the sky,” the Spirit “descending on him like a dove” and the voice heard from the heavens, God “anoints” his Messiah, his “anointed one,” for the work he is about to do.
In baptism, we claim the name of Christian and embrace all that that holy name means: to live for others rather than for ourselves, in imitation of Christ.
Our baptism made each one of us the “servant” of today’s readings: to bring forth in our world the justice, reconciliation and enlightenment of Christ, the “beloved Son” and “favor” of God.
In baptism, we embrace that same Spirit that “hovers” over us, guiding us in our journey to God.
Liturgically, the Christmas season officially comes to an end with today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Now the same Spirit that “anoints” the Messiah for his mission calls us to be about the work of Christmas in this new year: to seek out and find the lost, to heal the hurting, to feed the hungry, to free the imprisoned, to rebuild families and nations, to bring the peace of God to all peoples everywhere.
Remember, as our holy Father, Pope Francis has reminded us, our “baptism is enough.”
“From the Pastor’s Desk”
Baptism of the Lord