Gospel Reflection for the Baptism of the Lord, Year A – January 8th 2017
Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands’. At this, John gave in to him.
As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him’.
Of a footballer they said recently – ‘he really plays his heart out!’ Or the bishop who walks up Croagh Patrick in July, or the Cardinal who took a bath in Lourdes – they shared the life of the people they here with. Maybe a bit like the parents getting on the floor to play with the child. Jesus was like that, and his baptism puts him in the ordinary line with people coming to John for the ritual baptism. Giving his heart and sharing our life.
He becomes one of us, sharing our humanity. At each Mass we say, ‘by the mingling of the water and wine, may we come to share the divinity of Christ, who humbles himself to share in our humanity.’ In the depths of sharing our humanity in the Jordan waters, he heard the affirmation of his Father, ‘you are my beloved Son’.
He would live like that, touching closely the lives of his people, especially the sick. He would touch their hearts, and literally their bodies even when they were ‘unclean’ like people suffering from leprosy. He would do the same today for the people we marginalise and look down on.
His baptism is one of the big moments of hope. As we are, he was also, except for our sinning. His resurrection is the final reason for hope: as he is now, we shall be.
May I be reminded Lord when I take the holy water of your journey to become one like us.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger
Reflections for Year A, first published in other years in Logos Missalette, have now been published in book form:
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew, Messenger Publications 2016, €9.99
Order online at www.messenger.ie, or in Veritas and other booksellers.