The Baptism of the Lord: Matthew 3:13-17
Today’s gospel captures the supreme moment of the whole scene of the Baptism of the Lord. St. Matthew skimps on the details of the actual baptism, but he does let us in on the marvelous moments right after Jesus came up from the waters of the Jordan River. We do not know whether the scene as described by Matthew was visible to others or was an entirely inner manifestation or “epiphany” of God for Jesus alone.
It really doesn’t matter too much. Something happened to Jesus, something that transformed his whole life. The heavens were opened, the Spirit descended like a dove, and a voice sounded out, “This is my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Do you ever wish you could hear those words from God for yourself? “You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter. I love you and you please me greatly.” What would that incredible message mean to you? Would it change your life, as it seemed to change Jesus’ life?
To know you are deeply and entirely loved by God and to know it with absolute certainty! I suspect you would want to return that love in every way you could. For, after all, we are sons and daughters of God, our Father. Our baptism, whenever it occurred, established that truth forever. Even if you don’t hear any distinct message from on high, and even if you are a person whose imagination is not particularly vivid, allow the message to seep in. You belong to God in the very fiber of your being.
God’s gifts seem to always be a blessing and a challenge. The blessings are obvious; the challenge is to share the gifts with others. It’s a big agenda we followers of Jesus have in front of us. Just remember that we have a step up on the opposition. We are God’s beloved children – and the Lord is already greatly pleased with us.