Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 Acts 10:34-38 Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7. The first reading from the Prophet Isaiah introduces the “Suffering Servant,” who would lead the people like King David. The servant, chosen by God and given God’s spirit, would bring justice to everyone. This servant would be counter-cultural; he would not be interested in fame or power. But his rule would be gentle but would be sure. He would give the blind sight and the prisoner freedom. The servant would be God’s instrument of wholeness and liberation. As the year begins, we could use sight to see beyond our limitations and freedom from our self-imposed faults. Let us pray for this time of renewal, the gift of Jesus that the Father so willing give us.
Acts 10: 34-38. The second reading is a short section from Acts. It could be divided into three sections. Peter’s reaction to the message of Cornelius the centurion who received a message from God. He realized that God’s salvation was universal. And the centurion was ready to become a follower of the Messiah. Then Peter summarizes how the Good News has spread throughout Palestine. Third he preaches about Jesus who was anointed with God’s spirit and who healed and overturned the realm of evil. Why did God accept us? Because he wanted to show us his face in the person of his Son, Jesus the Christ. When we see God’s face in Jesus, we truly know that he accepts us and loves us. We are his.
Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22. Luke’s Gospel today records the message of John and the baptism of Jesus along the lines of Mark and Matthew. But he changed one small detail. The moment of realization was in prayer. The revelation of the Trinity occurs during Jesus’ prayer, not as he rose out of the water. For Luke, prayer was the time of revelation and insight; prayer was the time for grace, God with us. Luke portrayed Jesus in prayer before the major decisions of his ministry. Prayer is a time for gentle insight and peace. It is not earth shattering, but it can be earth moving. God can rule with justice, insight, and liberation, but we must take the time to realize his gifts in prayer. This week, plan for prayer time as a time for reflection. Slow down and concentrate on your words to God. And your presence with God. See how God will bless your time with him.