Baptism of the Lord
January 10, 2021
It’s a cliché but true, that to finish well depends on making a “good beginning.” Hello, I’m Father Greg Friedman, and this is the Sunday Soundbite for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
A month or so ago we heard “the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Advent. Those words sound like a title—and in a way they are Mark’s “title” for his Gospel. All that will follow—from Christ’s baptism to the announcement that he is risen—is for Mark the “beginning” of the Good News about Jesus. The continuation of the story is up to us who have received this Good News.
As the liturgical season of Christmas ends today, we begin to reflect on a weekly basis on what it means to live the Good News that Jesus Christ has been revealed as the Son of God. And much of our reflection will come from Mark’s Gospel.
Today he presents the dramatic scene in the waters of the Jordan River, as Jesus is baptized by John. The Spirit descends on Jesus and a heavenly voice claims him: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” From the Jordan, Jesus will begin a mission of healing and exorcism. Just as the Spirit hovered over the primeval waters at the dawn of creation described in the Book of Genesis, so now the Spirit is at work in Jesus—and in each of us, become new creations in Christ through our own baptisms.