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WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD – YEAR C

GOSPEL READING: LUKE 3:15-16, 21-22

WHEN JESUS HAD BEEN BAPTIZED AND WAS PRAYING, HEAVEN WAS OPENED

 

The feast of the Baptism of Our Lord falls on the Sunday following the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The feast brings to our mind the mystery of Christ’s Person and mission. At the same time it is an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for the innumerable gifts which we have received since the day we were baptized. The Church exhorts the faithful to renew with deep faith those baptismal commitments which we assumed through our parents and godparents, particularly our loyalty to Christ and our determination to struggle against temptation (John Paul II).

 

The manifestation of the Blessed Trinity in the Baptism of Christ:

And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Feast’s Entrance Antiphon).

 

Only a few days ago we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany, the manifestation of the Lord to the Gentiles, as represented in the person of the wise men. An earlier manifestation had been made to the shepherds on Christmas night. The shepherds had come to the stable hearing simple gifts. Today’s feast is also an epiphany since it commemorates the manifestation of Christ’s divinity by the voice of the Father and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The Fathers of the Church were wont to point out a third manifestation of the divinity of Jesus. It took place in Cana of Galilee on the occasion of Christ’s first miracle. Jesus manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him (John 2:11)

 

In today’s First Reading, Isaiah prophesied the figure of the Messiah: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him ... a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench ... I am the Lord, I have called you ... to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in the darkness” (Is 42:1-4; 6-7). This prophecy is fulfilled during the Baptism of the Lord. At that time the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22)

 

In this great epiphany on the shores of the Jordan, the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity are made manifest: the Father allows his voice to be heard as He gives testimony to the Son while the Holy Spirit appears above him. The expression from Isaiah my servant has been replaced with the phrase my beloved Son. These new words tell us about the Person and divine nature of Christ.

 

Following upon his baptism Jesus formally begins his salvific mission. It is at this moment that the Holy Spirit begins his action on souls by means of the Messiah, an influence which will last until the end of time.

 

The liturgy for this Sunday’s Mass provides a good opportunity for us to recall with joy our own baptism and how that sacrament has affected our lives. Saint Augustine remembers his baptism with a special joy: “In those days I could not take my fill of meditating with wondrous sweetness on the depths of your counsel concerning the salvation of mankind” (Confession 1, 9, 6). We ought to cultivate the same kind of sentiments today when we pray about our baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

The Baptism of Jesus is a mystery. And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon once (John 1:16). We have been baptized not only with water, as in the baptism of John, but with the Holy Spirit, which joins us to the life of God. We give thanks to God for that day when we were incorporated into the life of Christ. Our destiny is to be with him forever in heaven. We thank God that we were baptized soon after being born, following the long-standing custom of the Church, or for having been received into the Church in our adult life.

 

--Francis Fernandez, In Conversation With God

 


This article was published on Thursday 07 January, 2010.

Back to main topic: STUDY THE WORD OF GOD
ADULTERY
THIS POOR WIDOW PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS
CHRIST WILL RETURN WITH GREAT POWER AND GLORY
YOU SAY I AM A KING
BASILICAS OF ST. PETER & ST. PAUL
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST
CHRISTMAS
YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND
GOD’S PROMISES IN ADVENT
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC UNDERSTANDING OF ECUMENISM
WE NEED ADVENT!
WE SAW HIS STAR AT ITS RISING AND HAVE COME TO DO HIM HOMAGE
EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US!
THE BLIND BOY AND HIS SIGN
EPIPHANY
ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD
“WHAT SHOULD WE DO?”
GOD KNEW ME BEFORE I WAS BORN
GOD IS LOVE
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
“THE MOTHER OF MY LORD SHOULD COME TO ME.”
THE LAST EIGHT DAYS IN THE ADVENT SEASON
HIS PARENTS FOUND JESUS SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE TEACHERS.
MARY – “MOTHER OF GOD”
WHETHER THE BLESSED VIRGIN SHOULD BE CALLED THE MOTHER OF GOD?
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
WHETHER THE BAPTISM OF JOHN WAS FROM GOD
WHETHER IT WAS FITTING FOR CHRIST TO BE BAPTIZED WITH JOHN’S BAP
JESUS TURNS WATER TO WINE

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