BaptB21. Isaiah 55:1-11. Many of the Hebrews, who had been taken off into captivity to Babylonia, eventually integrated themselves into Babylonia as prosperous citizens, so much so that, when invited to go back to Judea, only a remnant later returned. In this scripture the Lord is inviting all of them to return, promising them a wondrous bounteous richness. “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near” is to say God is inviting you back now but will not hold out the invitation for long. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways, says the Lord.” God is telling all the Jews that they must think as He thinks and not as human beings do. “My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” When God speaks, his words accomplish their purpose.
Mark 1:7-11. “John the Baptist proclaimed: ‘One mightier than I is coming after me.’” John’s baptism of Jesus announces the adult entrance of God’s Son into this world as do “the heavens being torn open” with the Spirit “descending upon him” and a voice proclaiming “from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” This is a reaffirmation of the proclamation of the angels at his birth: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Luke 2:11) He is all-powerful yet humble, calling on us to respond positively to his loving presence but not forcing us. Just as the Jews were invited to go back to their homeland in the first reading, so too we are called upon by God at Jesus’ baptism to make our home with Jesus who came into our world to be at home with us.
1 John 5:1-9. When we fully accept and live with Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive birth into the spiritual life, “begotten by God,” becoming a child of God. With Jesus as our Lord, we obey his will. Who is our Lord and Master, Jesus or the ways of this world? When we believe in Jesus, entrusting ourselves to him as the Son of God, we conquer and are victorious over the world’s claim over us to be the driving and ruling force in our lives.
His baptism in the waters of the Jordan along with the Spirit who descended upon him and his shedding of blood on the cross give witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Let us accept him for who he should be for us, the Lord and Master of our lives, sent to us from the heavens by our loving God.