Lk 3:15-16, 21-22
The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming."
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
More than a month ago we entered Advent, which a Franciscan colleague of mine likes to describe as a time of “joyful expectation.” Today as we conclude the Christmas season, we again hear about “expectation” in our Gospel selection.
Throughout this year we will read from the Gospel of Luke, and in today’s passage he describes how the people were “filled with expectation” that John the Baptist might be the Messiah.
Luke wants to show Jesus as the fulfillment of all that was promised and prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures. John the Baptist stands as a figure uniting that tradition with the person and the mission of Jesus. Jesus will fulfill the expectation people had for a Savior—if not quite in the way some expected it.
The signs accompanying the events of Jesus’ baptism ought to tip us off that something important is happening here. The heavens opening, the voice of the Father commending his “beloved Son” to us, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, all point to a moment of revelation.
We’ve probably all put Christmas behind us—except for the bills to be paid—and no doubt we’re ready for some quieter, less hectic days. But the life of a Christian must still be lived in constant “expectation,” for the Kingdom is breaking in, and we must be ready to witness to it.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
This week's first reading (Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7), talks about the Lord’s servant and promises to “uphold him” for what?
This servant will have several tasks. Can you name one or two of them?
In the second reading (Acts 10:34-38), Peter speaks to the folks at the house of Cornelius about how he came to see “that God shows no partiality.” What does Peter mean when he says that?
What does Peter say about the work of Jesus of Nazareth?
What were the people asking about John the Baptist in this week's Gospel (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22)? How did John respond to them?
After Jesus was baptized by John what happened?
What did the voice from heaven say about Jesus?
Get out any items from your Baptism, such as pictures from that day or your baptismal candle. If you still have the candle, perhaps you could keep it out and light it on the date of your baptism to mark the special occasion.
Water plays an important part in the sacrament of Baptism. It is also a very precious commodity both for us and for our world. Try to identify ways that you can honor that importance by identifying and practicing ways you can conserve water today.