Baptism of the Lord Year C by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah 

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Baptism of the Lord Year C by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

1st Reading Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10
2nd Reading Acts 10:34-38
Gospel Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Theme: Baptism, as the Christian identity

Introduction

After celebrating the Epiphany of the Lord, today the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord to bring the season of Christmas to an end. In other words the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas festivity and ushers us into a new season of ordinary time. By the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord we are being reminded of our identity and mission as children of God and this is exactly what the readings of today exude.

Explanation of the Text

Before we can understand the oracle of Isaiah in our first reading, a little bit of historical antecedent will be needed. God delivered his people from bondage in Egypt, made a covenant with them, and brought them through wilderness into the land of Canaan. They became a nation and built a temple for the Lord. For centuries they saw military victories and defeats under kings and generals.

They strayed from God’s covenant but prophets called them back. Then, in the sixth century BCE, the unthinkable happened. The Babylonians defeated Israel. They destroyed the temple, plundered Israel’s treasure and livelihoods, took them into bondage, and marched them back to the gates of Babylon in chains. This was very devastating for them and for a very long time they yearned to see their glorious days which their fathers told them and how God raised a king like David to win battles for them.

Isaiah proclaims this God acts in particular ways. First, God sends a spirit-filled servant not a conqueror or tyrant — (“a bruised reed he will not break,” verse 3). This agent of God is a liberator who will bring justice, not domination.

Second, God works to bring justice “in the earth,” that is, to bring it to all, everywhere. God sends this servant to persevere until justice is done all the way “to the coastlands” (verse 4).

Third, God purposes God’s people, to be “a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (verses 6-7). God calls them to righteousness not for themselves alone, but for the nations.

Isaiah reminds this exiled people that God has not abandoned them but is indeed at work among them, restoring them to be a blessing. This is good news! God is still God. God’s people are still God’s people in their particularity, yet with a purpose that extends beyond themselves to all the earth. Notice that the reassurance Isaiah offers is not triumphalistic. There is no talk of revenge, of turning the tables on the Babylonians.

Our Gospel reading with the corroboration of the second reading seem to be the fulfillment of this prophetic oracle by Isaiah. At the baptism of Jesus, his identity and mission was clearly spelt out and He was confirmed too by voice that testifies to him as a faithful servant pleasing to God. Can this testimony too be said of us who have been baptized? We call ourselves as Christians, baptized and confirmed in faith by the Holy Spirit but our attitudes and behaviors do not support this claim because we are not living a life worthy of our calling. We cheat, gossip, steal, fornicate, insult and commit crimes and still tout ourselves as Christians. Are we living to please men or God. Remember God cannot be mocked. Is God proud of us with this our lifestyle and so can boldly affirm to us that “these are my beloved sons and daughters whom I am well pleased?

Source

www.catholicinformer.com

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