Feast of the Lord's Baptism

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord


First Reading

Isaiah 55,1-11

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk without money, free! Why spend money on what cannot nourish and your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen, and you will live. I shall make an everlasting covenant with you in fulfilment of the favours promised to David. Look, I have made him a witness to peoples, a leader and lawgiver to peoples. Look, you will summon a nation unknown to you, a nation unknown to you will hurry to you for the sake of Yahweh your God, because the Holy One of Israel has glorified you. Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked abandon his way and the evil one his thoughts. Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God, for he is rich in forgiveness; for my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh. For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts. For, as the rain and the snow come down from the sky and do not return before having watered the earth, fertilising it and making it germinate to provide seed for the sower and food to eat, so it is with the word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me unfulfilled or before having carried out my good pleasure and having achieved what it was sent to do.

Psalmody

Psalm 12

Antiphon

How long will your hide your face from me O Lord.

How long, O Lord, will you forget me?
How long will you hide your face?

How long must I bear grief in my soul,
this sorrow in my heart day and night?
How long shall my enemy prevail?

Look at me, answer me, Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes
lest I fall asleep in death,

Lest my enemy say :'I have overcome him';
lest my foes rejoice to see my fall.

As for me, I trust in your merciful love.
Let my heart rejoice in your saving help;
Let me sing to the Lord in his goodness to me.

Second Reading

1 John 5,1-9

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and whoever loves the father loves the son. In this way we know that we love God's children, when we love God and keep his commandments. This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments. Nor are his commandments burdensome, because every child of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. Who can overcome the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? He it is who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with water alone but with water and blood, and it is the Spirit that bears witness, for the Spirit is Truth. So there are three witnesses, the Spirit, water and blood; and the three of them coincide. If we accept the testimony of human witnesses, God's testimony is greater, for this is God's testimony which he gave about his Son.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Glory to God in the highest
and peace on earth to the people he loves.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 1,7-11

In the course of his preaching he said, 'After me is coming someone who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.' It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. And at once, as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The feast of the Baptism of Jesus is like another Christmas, another Epiphany. At the Jordan River the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit rested upon him, like a dove that finally finds his nest. God's Power finally found his home. Not that the Spirit of the Lord was not there before. It had been there since creation, when "the spirit of God swept over the waters" (Gen 1:2); and then it continued to be present in holy and spiritual people, in prophets, in the righteous, in witnesses of charity, both of Israel and of other religions. But in Jesus - since his birth a d manifestation to the Magi - the Spirit finds its full and definitive home. Indeed, from that moment an absolutely new and unique fact begins.
After Baptism Jesus begins to speak. One could say he came out of the water with a new vocation. On the day of Baptism, he was born into a new life, to a new mission. Just baptized Jesus came out of the water and the heavens opened, and a voice from heaven said, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." With Jesus' preaching after his baptism, God gets closer, the future of peace is no longer unattainable, hope is not over, human beings are not crushed on earth, they are not prisoners of their destiny. Each of us becomes a loved and guarded son and daughter. The disciples of the Lord do not become autonomous, forced to trust their own sad, self-sufficient, distrustful and fearful strengths. They are first and foremost children and a good Father. And they have so many brothers and sisters, those of faith. And all are loved, even beloved.
God's love is personal, unique; without other ends than that of love with Him. This is the future that God makes present and which offers to all, and especially to those whose lives seem to have lost all value and importance. Christians are never a single child because God is the Father of all. Each one who is baptized receives brothers and sisters. And one is called to be a brother and a sister to enrich fraternity, to weave friendship, and to cultivate solidarity. Sometimes it seems easier to be alone. Christians are called to open daily life with love, which is God's. And life becomes holy when we listen to the Lord, when friendship brings us close to the other, when an alone old person is sustained, when a tear is consoled, when a poor is called by name and is helped, when a sick person is visited, when good gestures reach those who are alone and make them feel loved. Today, to all of us, who went back children at the baptismal fountain, born children, the Lord does not ask for great speeches or promises, but only a heart capable of being loved, to learn from God, good father, to love everyone.