BAPTISM: THE MOMENT OF BECOMING THE CHILDREN OF GOD

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 10 January 2021
THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Isa. 55:1-11; PS Isa. 12:2-3,4bcd,5-6; 1John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11

The Gospel of Mark begins directly from Jesus’ adulthood, about 30 years old (Luke 3:23), when He is baptized by John. As usual, Mark always focuses on Jesus identity. This story also focuses more on the proclamation of Jesus’ identity rather than on His Baptism. John the Baptist proclaims Jesus’ identity in his prophecy about the “coming” Messiah. He proclaims the identity of Messiah to his listeners as “He who is mightier”. So great is the power of the Messiah, that John is not worthy, not even to be His servant. Not only that he is more inferior in degree and power, but also in terms of his work, John is far left behind. John baptizes with water, the Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Water only cleanses, but the Spirit empowers. In Baptism, we are not only cleansed from sin and guilt, but also enabled by His Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to endure trials. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to fight against evil.

John’s prophecy is immediately fulfilled. Jesus “comes” from Nazareth, an unknown city, which is not even mentioned in the OT. Jesus presents God who always comes to visit His people. Unlike John who waits for people to come, Jesus comes to approach the humans. He will continue to travel to various villages and cities to present the Kingdom of God, through His words and deeds. Jesus’ mission comes from God Himself, and is based on His unique relationship with the Father. That is what is shown and told to Jesus Himself and to us readers of this gospel. The Father proclaims Jesus as His beloved Son. Therefore, He is anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit, that is: the power of God Himself.

As in the beginning of the universal creation, “God’s Spirit moves upon the surface of water” (Gen. 1: 2), so is now the Spirit of God descends on Jesus who initiates the “new creation”. By this way, the relationship and the unity of love between Jesus and the Father is greatly emphasized. The Father is also pleased to the Son, because of His obedience. This relationship of love and obedience will be proven throughout Jesus mission and ministry, to His death and resurrection.

The Feast of Lord’s Baptism is an occasion for reminding ourselves of our status as the children of God. In faith in the Son, we have been adopted as the children who are loved by God and gifted with His Spirit. Unfortunately, the status of being children of God is often just a matter of personal pride. We often forget that being the children of God is a calling and a duty to present God’s powers, so that our world will improve to be better, more humane and more in line to His plan. Baptism is a calling and a duty to serve as faithful and obedient children of God. Like Jesus, the Son who devotes Himself to serving human till His death on the cross, so should we, His followers: live to serve each other to the end. Being obedient to God and serving the humans are our identity as the children who are chosen and loved by the Father.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Fraternity among the human beings: May the Lord grant us with strong fraternity for us to live in harmony with our brothers from different religions by being open and praying for each other. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Community solidarity: As a nation, may we be able to continue and increasingly develop solidarity, escpecially for the poor and those who suffer from Covid-19 outbreak. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Let us entrust this whole year into Your love, as seen in the offering of St. Joseph who accompanies Mother Mary in caring for The Son through sorrow and joy in Nazareth. We pray …

Amen

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