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  • Writer's pictureKathleen O'Brien

Baptism of the Lord

In the readings today we find a tripartite stratum that gives us a deeper sense of the meaning of our baptismal call. To begin with, Jesus’ baptism points to what our own baptism is grounded in. Often when we think of baptism we think of original sin. But the baptism of Jesus seems to allude to the Father’s love for us rather than the disdain of human nature. After Jesus was baptized “a voice came from the heavens, ‘you are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” In our baptismal call, may we be convicted in the powerful truth that we too are God’s beloved daughter (or son).

It is only in the conviction of God’s abiding love in our own lives that we may live out our baptismal call. But what does this baptismal call look like? What does it mean to be a baptized Christian in our daily lives? The first reading in Isaiah 42 seems to give us some clues as to what that looks like. Although the exegesis of this passage is often read to refer to the prophecy of Jesus’ coming, it also foretells what we are called to as baptized Christians. To be the “victory of justice”, help “open the eyes of the blind”, and to “bring out prisoners from confinement.”

Living out this baptismal call in our daily lives is no easy endeavor, but the fruits of our unwavering persistence will not be overlooked by the loving Father. In the responsorial psalm today, the Lord promises He will “bless his people with peace.” Our witness to the world in bringing about justice, healing, and truth will be seen in our peace.

Even though many of us (those who are Catholic) don’t remember our baptism, we see in the scriptures today the magnitude of that event that we carry out today in our daily lives. While the priest poured the water over our little heads as babies, we were probably crying or in a discomfort of some sorts. The cries of the many babies baptized every day in the Holy Spirit echoes the cries of the people whom suffer from injustice, “blindness”, and “imprisonment.” In response, as baptized Christians in matured form, we are to accompany all those who suffer so that all may experience the peace of Christ.

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