On the Road Together for January 13
Baptism of Jesus, Year C
by Tracy Rodenborn, Director of RCIA
Today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord officially ends the Christmas Season. At sundown this Sunday, we enter back into Ordinary Time. The Christmas Season in our Liturgical Year is filled not only with reflection on the Incarnation at Jesus’ birth but also some moments of reflection on further revelation of who Jesus is. For example, Jesus is reveal in the Epiphany last week and the Baptism of the Lord this week where God’s own voice is being heard, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” As we bridge this time of change in our Liturgical Seasons, we continue in the next few weeks of readings to reflect more deeply on the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry and moments where we come to know Him and His mission more clearly.
The first line of our Gospel is striking – as John is preaching a baptism of repentance, the people were “filled with expectation.” In our first reading from the prophet Isaiah, the captive and suffering Israelites are given great hope to return to their land, though they have been away so long, it had been plundered, the Temple destroyed, and loved ones lost. Yet even still, they were filled with expectation that God would come through for them. That reading ends with a beautiful image of God carrying them back like lambs close to His heart and gently leading them back to the land promised to them from ages past.
In a recent Advent reading, we reflected on the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth and how they waited not with doubt, but with joyful expectation that what God had promised would come to pass. Connecting this with the Baptism of the Lord and our own practice of infant baptism, we are keying into this same hope and joyful expectation that God’s love is sheer grace, unearned by us, given freely to all. Our practice of baptism is living in that joyful hope and being filled with expectation that what God has promised will not only be fulfilled in the life of this one child being baptized, but a promise for all.
As we transition from the Christmas season to Ordinary Time, our readings call us to reflect more deeply on this joyful expectation of God’s promises being fulfilled and to live our lives in this joyful hope. Our Feast today of the Baptism of the Lord also gives us pause to consider all the sacramental moments where we come to experience the grace of God in profound ways. Whether officially in our community when we celebrate one of the seven sacraments or when we reflect on all the sacramental moments in our lives, these are when we can see, touch and feel the love of God through the many ways God is revealed to us. When we do this, we can feel our own hearts swell with hope as the crowd gathered with John and Jesus did, and we can live our lives filled with expectation, too.
Repeating this again from our last liturgy column:
But when time itself is meaningful and each moment contains something valuable of its own, the joyful anticipation of something greater, something still to come, makes even more precious that which we already experience.
- From The Blessing of Christmas, by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Readings for January 13:
First reading: second choice
Psalm: not sure
Second reading: first choice
on Friday, January 11 at 11:56AM