Jan 13 2019 Reflection
Sunday 13 January 2019
First Reading: IS 42:1-4, 6-7
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
Second Reading: ACTS 10:34-38
Gospel Reading: LK 3:15-16, 21-22
Today’s Note: The Baptism of the Lord
The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”
The Baptism of the Lord (Feast)
All were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. (Luke 3:15)
The people who had come to hear John the Baptist were expecting something explosive. A prophet had arisen who would denounce all the enemies, all the “bad guys” who made life hard for everyone else. Maybe he was the Christ, the Messiah, come to cast out the Romans and their henchmen and restore Israel to its former glory.
But then came Jesus. A small-town carpenter who spent his time with the powerless and the sinful. The Spirit came upon him instead—not a fiery preacher calling out people’s sins, but a humble man preaching love of enemies. Surely people were caught off guard.
Jesus came “to open the eyes of the blind,” not to cast the bad guys into hell (Isaiah 42:7). He came “to bring out prisoners from confinement,” not to punish people for their sins (42:7). He came to take away our sins so that we could learn to love one another—good guy and bad guy alike.
When you hear this reading today, close your eyes and picture the scene. Picture John immersing Jesus into the Jordan River—a river that had received the sins of all who had come for baptism. Imagine Jesus accepting all of those sins and every sin that they represent.
For the next three years, Jesus will bear these sins, along with the sins of everyone else he comes into contact with. And still bearing those sins, he will teach us about his Father’s mercy, heal us from the wounds of sin, and deliver us from whatever hatred and bitterness is stored up in our hearts. Then he will take all that sin, hatred, and bitterness to the cross, where he will put it to death forever.
Today is the beginning of salvation for you and for everyone else, good guy and bad guy alike. So rejoice in this salvation and ask Jesus to help you love as he loves. Ask him to help you love everyone.
“Praise to you, Jesus, for taking all my sins!”