Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
January 11 A.D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Today we celebrate the final event of the Christmas season. Jesus is no longer an infant. His private sheltered life is over. Now, in the fullness of youthful manhood, He seeks out his cousin, John the Baptist, who has been preaching a gospel of repentance in preparation for the One who is coming -- the One greater than himself. And the evangelist, Mark, forty years after the Resurrection, makes it very clear that John is not the Messiah, in case there are lingering doubts among the former followers of the Baptist.
Jesus' call to Mission by God the Father has been with Him from before His human birth. It even predates the several covenants God had made with Noah, Abraham, and David. Today's first reading has remarkable ties with the Gospel for today. In that reading, the second prophet of the book of Isaiah speaks God's Word to the people in exile. In a passage resembling a vendor calling out in the marketplace, God commands the people to "come to the water. . . . You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat. . . ." Through the prophet, He urges the people not to spend money on foolish things which do not satisfy, but to stay on track in seeking life through obedience. God is announcing His intention to establish a new covenant much broader than the former ones which will embrace all peoples in a new epiphany. To do this, He will send a messiah.
Today's Gospel declares that the time is now. As Jesus is baptized by John, the heavens open up, the Father's voice thunders down, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." The purpose of this baptism is certainly not the removal of sin from Jesus, but is rather a commitment ceremony which identifies Jesus as the Messiah. By the action of coming to John, Jesus is openly declaring the start of His mission to remove the ancient curse on Adam and all his descendents. From the heavens above, the voice of God the Father is heard ratifying His identity as God's Son. John, too, is now aware that his cousin is now being officially "sent." John's work is over.
As the Christmas season ends, the public life of Jesus begins. Today is also a time for all of us to remember how we have been sent, through water and the Spirit, to be also a voice of truth and a sign of hope for the people of our day who yearn for new life.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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