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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Baptism of the Lord (C)

1st Reading (Isa 40:1-5.9-11): Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by a strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

Or (Is 42,1-4.6-7): Thus says the Lord: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. a bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
Responsorial Psalm: 103
R/. O bless the Lord, my soul.
O Lord, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory, robed in light as with a cloak. You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth.

You have constructed your palace upon the waters. You make the clouds your chariot; you travel on the wings of the wind. You make the winds your messengers, and flaming fire your ministers.

How manifold are your works, o Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all, the earth is full of your creatures; the sea also, great and wide, in which are schools without number of living things both small and great.

They look to you to give them food in due time. When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

If you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

Or: Ps 28

R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Give to the Lord, you sons of God, give to the Lord glory and praise, Give to the Lord the glory due his name; adore the Lord in holy attire.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the Lord, over vast waters. The voice of the Lord is mighty; the voice of the Lord is majestic.

The God of glory thunders, and in his temple all say, “Glory!”. The Lord is enthroned above the flood; the Lord is enthroned as king forever.
2nd Reading (Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7): Beloved: The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Or (Acts 10:34-38): Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: «In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him».
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Lk 3:16): Alleluia. John said: One mightier than I is coming; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 3,15-16.21-22): A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that might be the Christ. Then John answered them, «I baptize you with water, but the one who is coming will do much more: he will baptize you with Holy Spirit and fire. As for me, I am not worthy to untie his sandal».

Now, with all the people who came to be baptized, Jesus too was baptized. Then, while he was praying, the heavens opened: the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the bodily form of a dove and a voice from heaven was heard, «You are my Son, this day I have begotten you».

«You are my Son, this day I have begotten you»

+ Fr. Joan BUSQUETS i Masana (Sabadell, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we look at an adult Jesus. The child of the manger has grown to manhood and respectability, and reaches that place in life when He must embark on the Divine commission entrusted to Him by the Father. In preparation, He joins the candidates who have responded to John the Baptist in the Jordan River, submitting to baptism at his hands to wash away their sins.

It is at that time and place that God reveals Him as His Son: «Then, while He was praying, the heavens opened: the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the bodily form of a dove and a voice from Heaven was heard, 'You are my Son, this day I have begotten you'» (Lk 3:21-22). It is just the preparatory stage of the Great Journey He is prepared to start off all the way to the Cross. It is the first public act of His ministry, and marks the divine manifestation of Him to the world as the promised Messiah.

His baptism is also the prologue to his life, demonstrating that He has chosen to be obedient to the will of His Father: a sign that He will not be an agitator, nor a rabble-rouser, but He will be gentle, peaceful, and calm. He will not even break a bruised reed, but he will rule with justice. He will open the eyes of the blind, and free the captives. The signs by which the Messiah will be known, as described by Isaiah, will be fulfilled in Him, and we stand blessed by Him, as we read today in Saint Paul's letter: «He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life» (Tit 3:5-7).

The feast of the Baptism of our Lord serves to remind us of our own Baptisms, compelling us to renew the promises our parents and godparents made on our behalf, when they presented us to the Church, to make of us disciples of Jesus. «Baptism has liberated us from all evil, which are the sins, but with God’s grace we have to accomplish all good things» (Saint Cesaire, bishop of Arles).