In less than a month’s time our Holy Day and Sunday Celebrations have taken us from the Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to thirty years later when he was Baptized by John in the Jordan River. The reason for this rather rapid movement of time in the life of Jesus is that the Scriptures tell us little about his childhood. After his Birth and the accounts of Angels, Shepherds and the Wise Men, there are only the accounts of the Circumcision, Presentation and boy Jesus captivating the teachers in the temple with his wisdom. Therefore, we begin the Season of Ordinary time with the Account of Jesus’ Baptism by John.
The Baptism of Jesus is seen as the beginning of his public ministry. It took place in quite a dramatic way. After the humble insistence of Jesus to John that he needed to be baptized, it ends with the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The ministry of Jesus begins with the unity of our Triune God manifesting himself in the mystery of one God and three divine persons. The rest of Ordinary Time consists of Gospels that confirm this unity of God, and the particular role that Jesus, through the Incarnation, had in our redemption.
The Gospel makes it clear regarding who Jesus is and his relationship to God the Father. The announcement by the Father that Jesus is his beloved Son, and the affirmation by the Father that he is well pleased with him, are two things that stand out in the Gospel. They clearly serve as the lens through which to look at and understand the teaching and ministry of Jesus, the Last Supper, and His death and resurrection. Jesus did not do these because he was just a nice man who was a gifted teacher and was somehow able to work wonders; Jesus did these and so much more because he was the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity and was faithfully dong the will of the Father in union with the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus being born into our world he gives us the call and the means to reclaim what had been lost in Original Sin. When God created Adam and Eve we are told that they were made in his image and likeness. The presence of Jesus is out call to reclaim that each of us is created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus, then went on to expand our identity by teaching that His Father is Our Father, and that we are not only made in God’s image and likeness we are sons and daughters of God.
In our lives we should be striving to be faithful Sons and Daughters so that the words that the Father proclaimed on the day of Jesus’ Baptism can be said of each one of us; you are my beloved son or daughter, in whom I am well pleased.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.