First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalm Response: Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-38
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
“This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” We have come to the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Ordinary Time. This feast encompasses both of these entities, the end of one time and the beginning of another. The time of celebration must end. It cannot go on forever. Once the celebration is over, we go back to ordinary life and work. In Scripture we find that John the Baptist has been preaching repentance and baptism by water. John and Jesus meeting here signals another ending and beginning. The Old Testament proclamation is now ended. That which the Old Testament has proclaimed is now coming to pass. The kindom of God begins.
John had once recognized Jesus in the womb, now he recognizes him in the flesh. Jesus prevails on a reluctant John to baptize him. After the Baptism Jesus sees the Spirit descend upon him and he hears the words, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” When Jesus hears God pronounce this blessing upon him he must have had a profound experience of God. This happened before Jesus has even begun his ministry. Jesus wonders what this might mean. We learn that then Jesus goes out into the desert to ponder this event. We marvel at the love of God for Jesus as He pronounces this blessing regardless of what Jesus does next. Jesus is his beloved Son.
God pronounces this blessing upon each of us as well. God says to us at our Baptism, “This is my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased.” Do I believe this? God loves me just as he loved Jesus. Jesus has left us the Good News of God’s saving love. God loves each of us regardless of what happens next in our lives. We, like Jesus, need to ponder this great mystery of the unconditional love of God. How are we going to live out our lives knowing that God loves us so much and will never withdraw that love? Will we strive to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah of helping the blind, the prisoners, those who live in darkness? Can we be a light to the world? Can we accept all people as brothers and sisters as we hear in Acts and treat them as such? Can this be a new beginning in our lives ending our old way of acting?
God of love, thank you for sending your Spirit upon us just as you did Jesus and calling us beloved as you did Jesus. Aid us in living our lives in your great and wonderful love by loving our neighbors, sharing your light with them and all the oppressed, the weary, the poor in spirit, the outcast. Help us to feel the peace and joy of your presence in love. We ask this through Jesus, your Son and our brother. Amen
Dianne Kaimann, OSF