The Baptism of the Lord – Year B

Today’s Gospel, Mark 1:6b-11, reads:
John the Baptist proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Christmas season comes to a close. Jesus is no longer a child, his preparation period is over. At the age of 30, he came to his cousin, John the Baptist, who preached repentance to prepare the people for the coming of the One who would be the Most High, and he received the baptism from John's hand.

John’s baptism is certainly not to cleanse Jesus from sin but is a rite to identify Jesus as the Messiah who came among mankind. By coming to John the Baptist, Jesus openly declared the beginning of his mission to speak of God's love, die for our death, and bring people back to live in God’s grace.

Today's Gospel also makes clear the affirmation of God the Father about Jesus Christ as the Son of God, God’s beloved Son and the Second Person of the Trinity. John too now knows that his cousin began his public ministry and his work has come to an end.

The Christmas season is ended and the Ordinary Time begins. In the Liturgy of the Word at Mass, we will hear a lot about the public life of Jesus. We will hear Jesus' teachings about God the Father, about Himself, the doctrine of love, compassion and the joy of salvation.

This is also the time for all of us to remember our vocation. We too have been sent, through our Baptism, to be a voice of truth and a sign of hope for those who seek the meaning of life and yearn for new life.

May God bless each of us and our mission to herald the joy of salvation to our own brothers and sisters.

Fr. Phi Nguyen

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