Baptism of the Lord

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Baptism of the Lord

First reading: Is. 42:1-4,6-7

Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Second reading: Ac. 10:34-38

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

Gospel: Mk 1:7-11

This is what 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.”

In other words Fr. Lino E. Nicasio, SVD (National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus)

It is not easy to be humble, that’s for sure. We want to be “Number One.” We want to have the attention of others, to have others see how important, well-known, and loved we are. And though we loathe to admit it, we want to have our followers, fan clubs, our adoring public. How human!

Now please don’t get me wrong: in the Gospel St. John the Baptist, the precursor of the Messiah, had all the crowds he could handle—following him in the desert, listening to him, and being baptized by him. But did all this get to him? Perhaps the question should be, “Did John the Baptist allow all this adulation to get to him?” The answer, of course, is a resounding “NO!” And the reason is that John the Baptist knew who he was and what he was. He declared that he was not the Christ, not the Messiah; he was just there to prepare the way for the REAL ONE: Jesus Christ, the one and only Messiah whom he served, the Son in whom the Father was well pleased.

What can we learn from this? Humility, of course. To know who we are and what we are in relation to Christ: that being sinners, we are unworthy even to touch His sandals, as John himself said. We need to avoid pride, arrogance, and illusions of grandeur, even as we serve our Master. Only Christ matters, thus, our focus is on Him. It is Christ we serve as lowly and unworthy servants. And the Lord will be pleased, for He loves persons who, like Him, are meek and humble of heart. Let us instead lead others to Christ, like what the Baptist did. And when we do so, the Father Himself will be well pleased with us.

Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word