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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Feast of the Baptism of the Lord  

Gospel reflections: We are all God’s beloved children

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord brings the Christmas Season to a close, but invites us to allow Jesus to be born within us as God’s beloved children.

By Fr. Andrea Vena

According to Luke, Jesus was baptized “after all the people had been baptised”. It is interesting that the Evangelist Luke recounts that Jesus’ baptism was an experience of the people. By being in the midst of the people, Jesus manifests profound solidarity with His sinful people. Thus, from the very beginning of His public life, Jesus gives a certain “stamp” to His mission. Jesus reveals that He is the One who has come to “get His hands dirty” so as to bear the sins of humanity.

The baptism

Unlike the other evangelists, Luke does not dwell on the baptism, but leaves it in the background. “After all the people had been baptised and Jesus also had been baptised”, Luke says. What the evangelist highlights, instead, is what Jesus did after His Baptism: “He was praying”. This is a particularly dear theme that Luke repeats often in his Gospel. In this climate of prayer, Jesus receives the gift of the Spirit and is confirmed by the Father who recognizes Jesus to be “the beloved” with whom He is “well pleased”, or that He has placed His trust in Jesus. This is a way of indicating that Jesus’ way of drawing near to the people, of being in solidarity with them, is the reason why the Father sent Jesus.

Prayer

In the context of prayer, Jesus receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. This detail suggests that every time we pray, when we are speaking one on One with God, it is possible to experience the Holy Spirit. To pray is a way to return to God, to remain with Him. It is the way we breathe as children of God which is what our own baptism initiated. Only in prayer can our lives as God’s children be nourished. In moments of prayer, we allow God to say over us: “You are the beloved”, “You are important for me”.

The Lord’s beloved

In Jesus, the Father’s chosen Son, each of us is “the Lord’s beloved child”, with whom the Father “is pleased”. This is true for me, but it is also true for every brother and sister, independently of our condition of being sinners. In baptism, what happened at Christmas happens again: God descends, He enters within me so that I might be reborn in Him as a new creature. Humanly this is impossible, certainly. But “nothing is impossible with God” as the angel reminded Mary in the annunciation (Lk. 1:37). It was the Holy Spirit that made what is not impossible with God to happen to Mary when she became the Mother of Jesus. The same thing will happen to us if we allow the Holy Spirit to break through the heavens and descend upon us. Other people will be able to say of us, “I see Jesus in you”.

Listen to the Sunday Gospel Reflection
08 January 2022, 09:29