From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Jesus is baptized by John.
Summary: In this very brief story, we are given a glimpse of the relationship between Jesus and Saint John the Baptist. Both individuals are true models of humility. Jesus humbles himself when he comes forward to be baptized as an example for others, while Saint John the Baptist states that his baptizing of others is merely a preamble to the great baptism that will come through Jesus. Neither men are driven by ego, but rather are led by the virtue of humility.
Scripture: When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22
Jesus experienced times of new beginnings in his life. One of those times was when he was baptized. There were a couple of very important things that happened when Jesus was baptized. First of all, the Bible tells us that the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove and landed upon him. The second was that God spoke and said, “You are my Son. I love you and I am well-pleased with you.”
This event marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Up until that time, he had not performed any miracles, but with God’s approval and with the spirit of God upon him, Jesus began his ministry. From this new beginning was truly the Son of God and they began to follow him. Our own baptism represents a new beginning for us as well.
When we are baptized, it shows the world that just as Jesus rose from the dead through the glory of God the Father, we also live a new life in him. (Romans 6:4). New beginnings — God gives us opportunities for new beginnings. Let us make the most of them as we live a new life in Christ through the power of his Holy Spirit.
Dear Father, thank you for new beginnings. Help us to make the most of them — not through our own strength — but through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: Who do you know who lives like they believe God’s love will never leave them? Who do you know who needs to be reminded that they are loved?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The Tower: A Story of Humility
Written by Richard Paul Evans
Family Discussion: Every family has a unique identity that is defined by the behaviors, attitudes, and expectations that govern a family’s daily life. This identity is influenced by the family history of the parents, but each family’s expression of this history is unique. In today’s Gospel, we learn that Jesus’ behavior, attitudes, and expectations were governed by his identity as God’s beloved Son. In our Baptism, we were made children of this same heavenly Father. This identity as members of the family of God, and as brothers and sisters of Jesus, also shapes our family’s daily life.
As you gather as a family, identify some of the expectations and behaviors that govern your family life by answering the question, “What are some of the things that make our family life unique?” Celebrate these things about your family life. Read today’s Gospel, Luke 3:15-16,21-22. Observe that Jesus’ identity as the Beloved Son of the Father governed his behaviors, attitudes, and expectations. Recall that at our Baptism we were made children of this same heavenly Father. How does this identity as a member of the family of God govern and shape our family life? Conclude in prayer together that we will remain faithful to our baptismal identity as children of God and as brothers or sisters of Jesus. Conclude by praying together the Lord’s Prayer.