The Baptism of the Lord – Gospel Reflection


Baptised with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7-11)

 Mark, our evangelist for this year, gives no account of the birth of Jesus or his early life.  He plunges straight into the mission of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus.  John foretells the mission of Jesus. “Someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel and undo the strap of his sandals.  I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”  The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism marked the beginning of his ministry. 

Perhaps we have not given sufficient attention to the power of the Holy Spirit bestowed in the sacraments of initiation, namely Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Initiation is the beginning of a life of becoming. “But to those who accepted him he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). Baptism is the start of a lifelong commitment.  Saint John Paul II wrote that it would be a contradiction of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if one were to settle for a life of mediocrity marked by a minimalistic ethic and a shallow religiosity.

To face today’s mediocrity and shallow religiosity, Pope Francis calls for spirit-filled evangelisers, fearlessly open to the working of the Holy Spirit (The Joy of the Gospel, 259).

The revitalization of the Church will be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The ongoing Synod means a journey with the Holy Spirit.

Every person who has been baptized has been called to share in the ideals and work of Jesus here on earth.  Baptism is also called Christening, and that is what it is: we have been Christ-ened.  We are members of his body on earth, called to continue his work.  Pope Francis asks for prayerfulness and work: prayer which inspires action, and action inspired by prayer.

Saint Teresa of Avila expressed this call very simply.

“He has no hands but my hands to do his work today.

He has no feet but my feet to lead people in His Way.

He has no tongue but my tongue to tell people how he died.

He has no help but my help to lead people to his side.”

Christ is counting on you

God alone can give faith, but you can offer witness.

God alone can give hope, but you can give confidence to others.

God alone can give love, but you can pass it on to others.

God alone can give peace, but you can work for unity.

God alone can give power, but you can sustain somebody who is feeling low.

God alone is the way, but you can show it to others.

God alone is the light, but you can make it shine for others.

God alone is life, but you can give others a taste for living.

God alone can do the impossible, but through you it becomes possible.

God alone is self-sufficient … but amazingly, God prefers to count on you.

(Cursillo hand-out, author unknown)

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