Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Baptism of the Lord

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Matthew 3. 13-17

"This is my beloved Son"

When Jesus requested baptism John tried to dissuade him, for Jesus who was without sin had no need for repentance. He chose to undergo this ritual, not because he needed to be cleansed, but so that he might identify himself with sinful humanity. At the beginning of his public ministry, it is a bold statement that he comes among us not merely as if he were one of us, but as one who has entered fully into our condition with all its pain, sorrow, grief, burdens, and worries, as well as its guilt. For our sakes, he who is sinless has accepted our fallen condition.

The Father's voice was heard: "This is my beloved Son. My favour rests on him." The vision of Isaiah that we heard in today’s first reading was fulfilled: "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased." Jesus is Son of God and Servant of God. He is the one who was to suffer for the sins of many. As we conclude the Christmas season, we are reminded yet again what it is all about - namely the undying love of the Father for all of us, his children. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

In this baptismal event, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus to guide him throughout his public life. First the Spirit led him out into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil. Then with the power of the Spirit in him, he returned to Galilee to begin his mission of proclaiming and inaugurating the Kingdom of God. On the night before he died, Jesus promised to send that same Spirit to us, that we in turn may now be identified with him. Through the gift of his Spirit in Baptism, he who humbled himself to share in our humanity, has raised us up to share in his divinity, to become with him daughters and sons, servants on whom God’s favour rests. .