January 10, 2021 — The Baptism of the Lord
IS 42:1-4, 6-7 or IS 55:1-11; PS 1-2, 3-4, 9-10 or IS 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6; ACTS 10:34-38 or 1 JN 5:1-9; MK 1:7-11
Our Christmas season concludes with the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus was not baptized because He needed to repent — rather, He was revealing who He is and what He came to do. By submitting to the baptism of John, He affirmed His humanity, revealed His divinity as the Son of God, and signaled His mission to save man from sin.
Although Jesus’ baptism was just the beginning of His ministry, it revealed all that He came to accomplish. And it is from His mission that we can receive the Sacrament of Baptism — the moment we become adopted sons and daughters of God. From that moment, we belong to Christ — we become His stewards. Our lives should be a reflection of this relationship. The way we live and act should reveal Whose we are. Our readings today call us to reflect on what it means to be a Christian steward — to belong to Christ.
In our First Reading, the prophet Isaiah shares a message of hope, “Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.” We can take these words from Isaiah and ask ourselves, “Who is the king of our hearts?” As Christian stewards, it should be God. We often fill our thoughts and our lives with things that satisfy us only for a moment. If we truly do belong to Christ, then we will make Him our top priority. And what we fill our lives with should reveal that He is King. Remember, the Lord will satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. He will fill us with a feeling of lasting peace and contentment.
Our Second Reading, from 1 John, reminds us that belonging to Christ requires commitment, “For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments.” In our fast-paced lives, we should ask ourselves, what commands our life? Is it God and His commands? Keeping Christ’s commandments will not only deepen our relationship with Him but also help us become better stewards to others, “In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.” Through our faithfulness, we will become stewards of Christ’s love and mercy. It is out of love that God gave us these commandments, and if we truly belong to Christ, we will keep them.
In our Gospel account of Jesus’ baptism, Mark reveals the intimate relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Once Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and God the Father proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” By our baptism, we have become God’s beloved sons and daughters. We, too, have access to an intimate relationship with God. But like all good relationships, it flourishes with effort. How we spend our time and share our gifts says a great deal about Whose we are. We must do our part as Christian stewards to spend time with the One to Whom we belong, and to serve the One we love.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord today, let us reflect on what it means to be a son or daughter of God. Let us resolve with conviction to make God the King of our hearts, live by His commands, and share with Him our time and gifts. Let us pray that our lives might be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.