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Monday, 1/09/2016, The Baptism of the Lord

The Prophecy of the First Step toward Salvation

First Reading Commentary Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

In his prophecy of the Baptism of Jesus, Isaiah relays what the Lord had said to him about Jesus and His mission. Isaiah does not mention Jesus by name nor does he specifically mention the baptism. But, from what is said, we know that it is Jesus and His baptism that Isaiah speaks about.

When Jesus was baptized, God, the Father, spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” This is a fulfillment of the first part of Isaiah’s prophecy. The LORD said to Isaiah, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.”

Jesus was the One chosen by the Father to be the Son but God chooses all of us to be His children and He wants to be pleased with all of us. It is for this reason that the Father sent the Son for our salvation. Our salvation is the mission of Jesus and the rest of this prophecy from Isaiah is about that mission.

When we meditate on the mission of Jesus, we have to remember that Jesus does not act alone. This is because Jesus is not God by Himself nor is He one of three gods but rather, the Second Person of One God, the Trinity. We see the Trinity revealed in this prophecy and at the Baptism of Jesus with the descent of the Spirit like a dove and the Father speaking from heaven.

Jesus does not carry out His mission by shouting out and He does not rely on fanfare and hype. But Jesus does teach us and fulfills His mission by action. Jesus shows His mercy and forgiveness and establishes justice. This begins with baptism.

The sacrament of Baptism was first instituted with the Baptism of Jesus. When we are baptized, the Holy Spirit descends upon us and we are washed clean from original sin. Baptism is therefore a major step in our journey toward salvation.

Jesus was called by the Father to bring the victory of justice. He is our covenant, the new covenant, which is the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is also the Light that shows the way and allows the blind to see. Jesus is the one who releases us from the dungeon and the darkness of sin.

Even without this prophecy from Isaiah, we know from the life of Jesus that He does all of these things for us. But with this prophecy, we know that it is the Father’s Will that the sacrament of Baptism be a major part in our salvation and Jesus brings the sacrament to us by allowing Himself to be baptized first.

God Is with Us

Optional First Reading or Second Reading Commentary Acts 10:34-38

In speaking to the house of Cornelius, Peter confirmed the prophecy of Isaiah. But he also proclaimed that, “God shows no partiality.” Therefore, the word sent to the Israelites was for the people of all nations. Through His works and teachings, this was made clear by Christ.

Peter said, “He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” This is one way that Peter tells us that the Father’s plan is both revealed and fulfilled through Jesus. This fact separates Jesus from all of the other prophets because only Jesus could fulfill the Father's plan.

Through the messages contained in the teachings of Jesus and with the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven; Jesus reveals the Father’s plan to us. Through His many works and going to the cross; Jesus fulfills two vital parts of the Father’s plan. The final part will be fulfilled on the last day with the second coming of Christ.

Waiting for the second coming of Christ does not mean that we are without Him now. His very name of Emmanuel, which means God is with us, tells us that He is with us. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus said to the Apostles, “And behold, I am with you always.” Jesus does not break promises and through His Word contained within the gospels, Jesus is with us always.

In a physical way, Jesus is with us in the Eucharist which is the Living Body and Blood, the Blessed Sacrament. At Mass, in the concluding doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest says or sings, “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.” When I hear this prayer at Mass, I am reminded that our God is one God but three persons and where there is one, there is all three.

We do not have to question if God is with us. Those of us with faith, know that He is. The question is, are we with God?

The Institution of the Sacrament of Baptism

Gospel Commentary Matthew 3:13-17

Matthew, Mark and Luke all account for the Baptism of Jesus. Today’s gospel is from Matthew.

John the Baptist proclaimed that he baptized people with water so that they might repent for their sins. He also proclaimed that there was One who was mightier than he who would come and baptize with the Spirit and fire and John knew that Jesus was the One who was also without sin. John therefore did not consider himself worthy to baptize Jesus but John’s reluctance was overcome when according to Matthew, Jesus said, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” The New American Bible footnote says, "To fulfill all righteousness is to submit to the plan of God for the salvation of the human race."

The baptism of Jesus, which is the First Luminous Mystery of the Rosary, was no less important to the Father’s plan than the birth of Jesus or the submission of Jesus to the cross for our salvation. Without baptism, Jesus could not complete His mission and there would be no salvation. As a result, Jesus allowing Himself to be baptized by John fulfills all righteousness.

It was therefore necessary that Jesus identify Himself with sinners through baptism. It is another sign that God does not ask us to do anything which He is not willing to do for us. But more importantly, because Jesus submitted Himself to baptism, He was able to take the sins of the world with Him and nail them to the cross. In a physical way, our sins are washed away by the waters of Baptism. In a spiritual way, our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ on the cross.

After Jesus was baptized, Luke tells us that Jesus prayed and that the Trinity was revealed. The heavens opened up and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove and the Father spoke saying, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” Matthew tells us that the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Can you imagine yourself being present to witness the baptism of Jesus, being able to see the Spirit descend upon Him and hearing the Father speak? I am sure that everyone who was there, was overwhelmed with fear of the Lord and believed. We have to rely on faith. In a way, we are more fortunate because everything that God wants from us begins with our faith. Everything begins with our believing.

          When we are baptized, original sin and any other sins which we may have committed up to the time of our baptism are washed away. The Holy Spirit descends upon us and showers us with His gifts. Baptism is one of the sacraments of initiation. The other two are Confirmation and the Eucharist. Baptism is the first sacrament for two reasons. 1-One must have faith in order for the grace of a sacrament to flow and we receive the gift of faith the Holy Spirit at Baptism. 2-By being freed from sin and showered with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are provided with what we need to begin our spiritual journey to heaven. And when we get there, the Father will say, “You are my beloved son” or “You are my beloved daughter, with you I am well pleased.”

Reading 1          Isaiah 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.

Reading 2          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.”

Gospel          Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Jesus lights up the way to heaven.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 29

R/ (11b) 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.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.

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.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.

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.
R/ The Lord will bless his people with peace.

St. Peter said, "I see that God shows no partiality."

Alleluia   Mark 9:7

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Spirit descended upon Jesus as the Father spoke from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Saints This Week

St. Angela of Foligno

(1248 – January 4, 1309)

St. Adrian of Canterbury  1/9/2016
 (d. 710)

St. Gregory of Nyssa
(c. 335 – 395)

Bl. William Carter

(c. 1548 – January 11, 1584)

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

(April 17, 1620January 12, 1700)

St. Hilary of poitiers

(c. 315 – c. 368)

St Gregory Nazianzen
(c. 325 – c. 390)

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