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The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Cycle A

Reflecting on Matthew 3: 13-17


We watched Him three years ago as he stood with the rest of the sinners, waiting to be dipped in the cold waters of the Jordan.  It was just the beginning of the dry season, so the river was full and running fast.  We had come out to see John, and to hear him preach about repentance.  He reminded us of Elijah, seeing him like that out in the desert with his garment of camel’s hair, raging against the very people who thought they were God’s favorites.

It’s the dry season again now.  John has been dead for awhile, beheaded by the king who didn’t like being called a sinner.  John knew the risks.

Come to think of it, Jesus was always with sinners.  When he was just a little boy he had visitors from the East who weren’t even Jewish.  He called his disciples from fishing boats instead of from the Temple.  He ate with tax collectors and even prostitutes.  And now he has been crucified, with a sinner on his right and on his left.

It’s as if he wanted us to know, from that very day of his baptism, that he is with us always, even as we stand in the cold waters and wait for redemption.



Sharing God’s Word at Home:

In what ways are you activating the graces of your baptism?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Christmas - Cycle A

11 Comments to “The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – Cycle A”

  1. I subscribe to “Minute Meditations” from americancatholic.org. Today’s touched me, a beautiful statement of the balance between faith and humility. So, I want to share it with you all.

    “We must be humble enough to recognize that we are not the center of the universe, but faithful enough to know that God frequently acts as though we are.”
    — from A Franciscan Christmas

  2. Kathy, I love your articles in our Most Precious Blood bulletin. I cut them out and send them to my parents in Iowa. Thank you for sharing your inspiration.Love, Carol (Goodwin) Siegrist

  3. Thank You Chris for sharing that very wise meditation. You know it is at times like this I feel like a new born colt trying to stand up on shakey legs. I wish I were as faithful to my Baptismal vows as our Lord is with His mercy and forgiveness. There are some days that I mess up so well I’d have live in the Jordan River. I remember when I first came back I spent a lot of time tell God I didn’t have the faith to be a good Catholic. And He nudged me a little and said good, but know that I had His support I grew strength. Until my leg stp shaking.

  4. The story of Jesus’ baptism has always been one of my favorites…a reminder that he was and is among us. Thanks for putting us into the story in such a creative way.


  5. …we are all sons and daughters…

  6. Listening carefully and always questioning for clarification are important graces.

    I take the Eucharist to assisted living facilities and feel selfish because I am privileged to be able to bring Jesus to these people. The appreciation they have humbles me in ways I couldn’t begin to explain.

    I like the idea, Chris, that sometimes God acts as if I am the center of the universe. Thanks for sharing that!

  7. I appreciate this lesson in Christ’s humility! He allowed his cousin, who knew exactly who He was, to baptize him, like all the others. And so his ministry began, as he demonstrates that he has chosen to endure what any of us could endure. He truly walked the walk!

  8. Activating the graces of baptism…in my case probably in the most subconscious fashion. Example: yesterday a friend asked me to compose a prayer service for grieving parents whose son, 31 years old, died in California and found 2 days later. Parents were too distraught to be present but we prayed as the baptized community in Christ. Later that evening, we gave the sorrowing parents a call…

  9. One of my greatest Baptismal blessings activated by Jesus in my life, has been being a Catechist in the RCIA program in my parish. These people whom God has sent, searching for Him, they have been such a blessing to me.
    This journey of faith begun with the Waters of Baptism. God Carried me when I thought I was alone. He directed me to the Catholic Biblical School and blessed me with wonderful teachers!
    Thank you Jesus for the waters of my Baptism! Thank you for all the great teachers! Thank you for this column of sharing!

  10. I’m always thrilled to watch babies being baptized at Mass or to see the newly baptized at the Easter Vigil. The excitement is always about them and their families. I am happy to welcome them into the community and to congratulate those involved. Everyone is so proud, in a good way.
    It never fails to strike home for me that that though I was baptized when I was three weeks old, I have had many opportunities to say yes to this sacrament. When we have the renewal of baptismal vows at Mass, when I participate in Eucharist, whenever I say that I am a Catholic or a Christian, it’s like having someone tap me on the shoulder and ask me the very question that is part of this week’s reflection. How do I live as if I am a baptized person? How do I allow grace to be activated?
    Grace is God’s life. The truth is, grace is all around but I can be the biggest stumbling block, preventing it from happening standing as an obstacle to its flowing energy.
    On the way to work today I was listening to Christian radio which reminded me how important it is to live with intention and attention. For me, these attitudes are ways to activate grace. If I am living my life with intention, then I live as a disciple responding to the call of baptism. When I pay attention, I am aware of how God is moving in me and calling me to serve. It’s circular in its movement and perhaps even spiral as it moves deeper and deeper inside my soul, and then like rippling water, it reaches out. Intention and attention are transformative powers that allow me to say yes to the God who is ever present to me, to the person next to me who is a reflection of God, to the universe that invites me to participate in co-creation, and even yes to my need for forgiveness.

  11. Bobbie,

    Thanks for the image of “rippling water,” which I tend to forget, but which perfectly illustrates the graces of baptism. The ripples of grace that reach others from the graces in the waters of our baptism. I so appreciate this powerful reminder! You made my day!

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