The common theme of all the readings, is the creative and renewing power of God’s Spirit and Word in the world and in our lives.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, which is the first of the manifestations of Jesus as the Son of God to the world. In his baptism, Jesus identifies with us in our humanity and our sinfulness, and shows us the way to repentance and new life.
In his baptism, Jesus also receives the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the affirmation of the Father, and begins his public ministry of preaching, teaching, healing, and liberating.
In his baptism, Jesus also invites us to share in his baptism, his death, and his resurrection, and to become his disciples and his witnesses.
In Genesis 1:1-5, we read the story of creation, where God’s Spirit hovers over the formless and chaotic waters, and God’s Word brings light and order out of darkness and disorder.
God’s Spirit and Word are the agents of creation, who give life and meaning to everything that exists.
God’s Spirit and Word are also the agents of recreation, who renew and restore the fallen and broken world.
As we navigate our mission, let us emulate God’s creativity, recognizing the potential for new beginnings and transformations.
In Psalm 29, we sing the praises of God, who is enthroned as King over the mighty waters, and whose voice is powerful and majestic. God’s voice is the voice of creation, who speaks and it is done.
God’s voice is also the voice of salvation, who gives strength and peace to his people. God’s voice is also the voice of revelation, who reveals his glory and his will to those who listen.
Just as God’s voice commands nature, we are called to listen attentively to His guidance in our mission, ensuring our actions align with His divine will.
In Acts 19:1-7, we hear the story of Paul’s encounter with some disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus, who had not heard of the Holy Spirit or of Jesus.
Paul explains to them the difference between John’s baptism of repentance and Jesus’ baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
Paul baptizes them in the name of Jesus, and they receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues and prophesy.
The Holy Spirit is the gift of God, who empowers and equips us to be the body of Christ in the world.
The Holy Spirit is also the guide of God, who leads and teaches us to follow the way of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is also the seal of God, who marks and guarantees us as God’s children and heirs.
This passage invites us to open our hearts to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, allowing it to guide and empower us in our mission to serve others and spread God’s love.
In Mark 1:4-11, we witness the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan river, where he is revealed as the beloved Son of God, with whom God is well pleased.
Jesus’ baptism is the fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah and John, who announced the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ baptism is also the inauguration of his mission and ministry, which will culminate in his death and resurrection.
Jesus’ baptism is also the model and the invitation for our baptism, which unites us with him and with his Spirit.
- In short – to come forward to baptism includes an acknowledgement of sin, an inability to overcome sin on our own (the need for grace), and a commitment to change our hearts and minds to God as revealed in Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
As we embark on our mission, let us emulate Jesus’ humility and submission to God’s will, recognizing the significance of our baptismal vows.
Practically applying these readings to our mission, God’s Spirit and Word are the creative and renewing power of God in the world and in our lives.
They are the source of our life and our meaning, our strength and our peace, our empowerment and our guidance, our identity and our destiny. How do we respond to God’s Spirit and Word?
Do we welcome them and cooperate with them, or do we resist them and ignore them?
Do we listen to them and obey them, or do we doubt them and reject them?
Do we share them and witness to them, or do we hide them and keep them to ourselves?
As we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, let us remember our own baptism, and renew our commitment to God’s Spirit and Word. Amen.