The Lord’s Baptism – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 6 janvier 2021

You are my beloved Son ; in you I find my joy

Tu sei il mio figlio prediletto, in te mi sono compiaciuto

# The place of the Jordan River has a special meaning in the Bible: in the Old Testament, it is one of the boundaries of the Promised Land to the Hebrews led by Moses. Since Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, he could not cross the Jordan River. On the other hand, John the Baptist baptised in the Jordan a baptism of conversion: the Jews crossed the Jordan to be baptised by John the Baptist, through this baptism they recognised themselves as sinners, and were able to enter the Promised Land again after their baptism.

It is in this context that the baptism of Jesus Christ takes place according to the Gospels. Jesus arrives at the banks of the Jordan River to be baptised. The immersion of Jesus in the Jordan River has a connection with sin. The developing theology within Christianity sees the baptism of Jesus as a willingness of Jesus Christ to take on the sin of the world. The account of this baptism describes a theophany, a manifestation of the God of the Trinity: Jesus Christ, the Son, baptised, a dove symbolising the Holy Spirit and the voice of God the Father.


From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark

At that moment John the Baptist proclaimed: « Behold, he who is stronger than I am is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop to undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water ; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit. »

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, when he came out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven : « You are my beloved Son; in you I find my joy.  « (Mk 1:7-11).

You are my beloved Son

The greater the corruption of this century, the more important it is that God’s servants set an example of self-denial. They preach with their lives rather than with words. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give a more detailed account of the preaching of John the Baptist, while Mark’s account, more abbreviated than theirs and very similar in the terms it uses, contains its own characteristics.

Thus this word, « bowed down », which so well portrays John’s humble attitude before the Lord; and again, in announcing that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit, Mark did not add, « and with fire ».

This prophecy of John, concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus was to administer, shows that John the Baptist was initiated into the spiritual nature of his kingdom ; no external sign marked its coming; only the faithful soul recognises the greatness of Jesus Christ above all his servants and the absolute necessity of this baptism of the Spirit, without which everything will remain dead in it.

Mark, in his abbreviated account, retained characteristics that were peculiar to him: in the Jordan he saw the torn sky, an energetic expression.  In Mark as in Luke, the divine voice spoke directly to Jesus : « You are my beloved Son, in you I am content. « 

This formulation most probably renders the original form of the divine Word. Jesus himself must have received this solemn testimony of being the beloved Son of the Father, since he humbled himself by accepting this baptism of sinners and was, in return, filled with the Spirit of God without measure.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

We welcome any comments you may have in relation to this paper. Write it under this paper.

Links to other websites of Christianity

◊  Father Hanly : click here to read the paper → Homily for The Baptism of the Lord, Year B

◊ Young Catholics : click here to read the paper → Baptism of Our Lord – Year B (2021)

Lectio Divina Session for Baptism of the Lord (Year B)

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