With Christmas falling on Sunday, some adjustments had to be made to the liturgical calendar. Yesterday we celebrated Epiphany with the story of the Magi, today we jump approximately three decades to the Baptism of the Lord. For Jesus this marked the beginning of his ministry, for us it marks the transition to Ordinary Time.
This year we read Mathew's version of the baptism story, and in his version the voice does not speak to Jesus (You are...), the voice speaks to the crowd about him,
This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased.
In a single sentence St. Matthew announces Jesus as the Son of God, beloved and also the Servant who pleases his master. In this one sentence he sets the stage for everything that will happen in the brief ministry of Jesus.
It is however St. John who reminds us why this is so important to us.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are
The word St. Matthew uses for beloved is from the word "agape" the love with which Jesus loves us and calls us to love one another.
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
From the Father to the Son to us to others so this love flows.
More difficult for us is being the servant in whom the father is well-pleased. This call to servanthood is a daily call. Every day in our every word and action we are to seek to please God, first of all.
Today as we celebrate the baptism of Jesus, we should take time to reflect on our own baptism, not only on what we receive but also the demands that are placed on us because we are the baptized children of God. How will I show the world that I am both servant and son?