The Baptism of the Lord
‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’
O God, whose Only Begotten Son has appeared in our very flesh,
grant, we pray, that we may be inwardly transformed
through him whom we recognize as outwardly like ourselves.
With the feast of the Epiphany ending the main season of Christmastide, we come this Sunday to the Baptism of the Lord. Today we consider the adult Jesus, his identity and his mission.
We are encouraged in the First Reading to see Jesus in the person of the Servant of God. Isaiah presents him as chosen and beloved; gentle, but filled with the power of the Spirit. He has the authority to bring about justice and righteousness. As ‘covenant of the people’, he will heal and free them.
The Psalm tells of the glory and power of God. The thundering storm contrasts with the humble and simple account of Jesus’s baptism.
Peter’s speech to the household of Cornelius in the Second Reading also summarizes the mission of Jesus after his baptism. Jesus has a mission to all peoples, because ‘God does not have favourites’.
Matthew’s account of the baptism of Jesus in the Gospel, reflecting the previous readings, shows Jesus to be the beloved Son of God,
anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit and with power.
We, too, are the beloved children of the Father, and we may pray to follow Jesus his Son more closely this week.