Gospel – Mark 1: 4 – 11
St. Mark chooses to begin the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by telling us about the Baptism of Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist the forerunner to Jesus is in the wilderness calling people to repentance and baptising them in the river Jordon.
Wilderness is dry and lifeless. Not a place for quiet comfort but a place of fear and anxiety, a situation of helplessness. However, in the Bible wilderness is seen as the place where God begins the work of redemption.
John had announced the imminent arrival of the Messiah saying, the one who is more powerful than I is coming after me. The one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus travels from the tiny village of Nazareth and comes to this wilderness and joins with all others who have come to the wilderness to begin their lives anew by participating in the Baptism of John.
Jesus joins with all the penitent people who are looking for a new beginning. Its amazing that God leads to new beginnings from the wilderness.
Baptism marks a new beginning and Jesus steps forward to be baptised by John. As he emerges out of the waters, the heavens are opened and the Holy Spirit descends of Jesus and a voice from heaven thunders you are my Son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased. With this experience Jesus begins his redemptive work.
As we read about the Baptism of Jesus we remind ourselves our Baptism. The same thing has happened in our Baptism. We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit and we have been accepted as a son and daughter by God.
Living in the wilderness of the pandemic, we are reminded that we have received the strength of the Holy Spirit in our Baptism and we are God’s children and with this confidence we face the reality of the dreadful pandemic.
We rejoice with hope with prophet Isaiah who wrote ‘The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.’