The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
The third Sunday after Christmas is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. On this day we recall that Jesus went out to the Jordan River, where his cousin John was baptizing, and himself entered into the water to be baptized. All four of the gospels tell of this event, in which the Spirit of the Lord came to rest upon Jesus, like a dove. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that a voice spoke from the heavens, saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” John tells us that John the Baptist told his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
Jesus’ baptism was a life changing event for him. He went out into the desert to pray and to ponder and absorb the immensity of what had been revealed to Him as He stood in the water with John. This experience of coming to know that He is God’s Beloved Son was the foundation for His entire ministry. When He returned from the desert, He began going among the people and spreading the Good News that God cares about what happens to people here and now, that God loves even the most insignificant person, that loving actions speak louder that pious prayers, that joy and peace are signs of the presence of God.
Each of us, in our own baptisms, have been given the gift of sharing in the life and work of Jesus. This feast is a reminder to us of that great gift and of the fact that our response is to be like that of Jesus – to go out now and share the same Good News through our actions in our daily lives, with peace and joy and love.