Daily Reflection
January 9th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
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Baptism of the Lord - Feast 
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Psalms 29:1-4, 9-10
Acts 10:34-38
Mark 1:7-11

When we were baptized, something called "Original Sin" was removed, though not the effects.  We were accepted into the Christian Community and the Holy Spirit entered our souls.  So we have a little confusion about what the baptism of Jesus is all about.  We believe He was conceived without Original Sin and without its effects.  He had already been accepted ritually into the Jewish Community.  He had been conceived by the Holy Spirit so what is His baptism?

We hear in the first reading a prophesy from Isaiah, announcing what exactly the Messiah is going to do and that He will be the chosen one and pleasing to God. 

We hear in the second reading a speech of Peter who gives a short history of Jesus and how "he went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." 

Mark's recounting of Christ's baptism echoes readings we heard during Advent.   John is the one who precedes Jesus and washes away, not sin, but obscurity and anonymity.  We heard also during Advent the plea from Israel through the prophet Isaiah, "O that You would tear open the heavens and come down."  In today's gospel we hear, "On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him." Jesus comes out of the water just as the beloved people of Israel had come up out of the waters of the Jordan into their new land and their new identity.  Jesus is the new Israel who has torn through mystery and now offers true identity to all the beloved of God. 

Jesus is announced as the beloved of God and so are all those who are incorporated, enrolled, united or baptized into Him.  He is really ordained by the gestures of John and the words of God.  He goes public now.  There is always the question about just when did Jesus hear, figure out, discern or start to believe Who He really was.  In the gospel for today, He hears it clearly and lives it faithfully and publicly every moment of His life after this.

Last week, we prayed with the Kings coming to worship Him.  Today we pray with Jesus beginning His ordained ministry for us.  He knows, or believes Who He is and He has to live it, share it and die for it.

When we are baptized then, we also enter into His being public yet intimate.  We are cleansed from anonymity about who we are.  We are moved to go public in sharing life, love and spirit.  We too, as human beings, have to take our time in coming to the realization and acceptance of who we really are.  We are ordained by the same washing and words, "You are my beloved daughter and son, with you I am well pleased."  It takes time to let that sink in and when it does, then we too have to move up and out into the same world which still needs the healing and identity He came to share.  We are ordained to go about doing good as He did and does through us.

Today Jesus hears His name called over the loud-speaker of God's airport.  Perhaps you have heard your name called, or mumbled, over such a speaker in a large public place.  It is scary and you might wonder who is calling and what do they want now!  Today again, we hear our names called to go public, because God has gone private with each of us in gesture and word.  We are called, blest and ordained to bless this world again and again.

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