Baptism of the Lord
January 13, 2019
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.