St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

The Baptism of the Lord C22

As time went on, the Christology (the theological study of the person, deeds and teaching of Jesus) advanced. We can see that clearly in the Gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus.

Mark[1] openly describes it but Matthew adds the Baptist’s objection that Jesus should baptize him. Luke, our Gospel for year C, mentions it almost in passing but is more concerned with the Spirit’s descent on Jesus and the voice from heaven that said Jesus is God’s beloved Son. Finally, John; he doesn’t even mention it. Why?

For the early Christian Church, the relationship between John and Jesus was tricky. Was not Jesus greater than John? In the Synoptic Gospels[2], Jesus received baptism from John, inferring a unique relationship between John and the baptized, symbolizing their acceptance of a radical change of heart and a public proclamation of their commitment. By Jesus getting baptized by John, he was committing to a radical change. How more could that be than the confirmation of the Holy Spirit and the Father claiming him as his beloved Son?

By being baptized with known sinners, tax collectors, soldiers, and throngs of ordinary folk who were seeking a deeper relationship with God, Jesus is throwing in his lot to the hopes and dreams of those people and not the so-called righteous who saw no need for a significant change in their connection with God. And the early Christians had to come to grips with that as well. Jesus enjoyed being with the outcast, with sinners, and with those were struggling with spiritual and physical pain, and portraying God as kind, merciful, and loving. Rather than being a remote and judgmental God, Jesus proclaimed a God who was always involved with creation bestowing forgiveness and reconciliation. “The people were filled with expectation”[3], but Jesus gave them something different from what they were expecting: hope.

We also have been baptized and will renew what we or others said we were to become, sons and daughters of God, witnessing to others what we profess in loving service to all, especially to the poor and those considered by society to be not worthy of our care and concern.

Are you ready to join with Jesus to bring hope?

 

[1] The Gospel of Mark is now thought to be the first written Gospel, followed by Matthew, Luke, and finally John.

[2] Mk, Matt, and Luke are called “Synoptic” because when read side by side, they are similar in their presentation of Jesus. 

[3] Lk 3:15

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