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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

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BAPTISM OF THE LORD

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This feast marks the end of the Christmas Season. The actual event that is recalled, and celebrated, marks the end of Jesus' hidden life.

Jesus' baptism in the Jordan at the hands of his cousin, John the Baptist, is a watershed in his life and ministry. Nothing will ever be the same again. Filled with the Spirit, he goes into the desert to fast and to enter into spiritual combat with the devil, and then embarks upon his three-year journey to Calvary. Jesus is the model for our own lives, as Christians.

All 3 of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) contain the story of Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. Each of the three Gospel accounts ends with:
And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'


In each of the Gospels this is immediately prior to Jesus' 40 days and nights of temptation in the desert. We can find these verses starting at Matthew 3:13,
Mark 1:9 and Luke 3:21.

Here are two of the readings from today's Mass: God the Father speaks, firstly, through the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament.  Then, several hundred years later, He speaks again, audibly and directly, as reported by the evangelist Matthew:

Isaiah 42:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations
.

Matthew 3:13-17
Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him.
'It is I who need baptism from you' he said 'and yet you come to me!'
But Jesus replied,
Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way,
do all that righteousness demands.

At this, John gave in to him.
As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven,
This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Benedict on the Gift of Baptism
Baptism Today
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The Lamb of God