All the earth shall bow down before you, O God, and shall sing to you, shall sing to your name, O Most High!
John was simply going about his business doing, you know, the things that prophets do…baptizing, predicting the coming of the savior of the world, telling people to get their acts together and reform their lives… all in a day’s work for a prophet. Well, much to his surprise, the inspiration in his heart and mind actually came to fruition! The One about whom he spent his entire life preaching and whose coming he predicted actually appeared…Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, entered into human history, was born of the Virgin Mary… and began his public ministry by insisting that he be baptized by John! Imagine…God actually fulfills what he promises!
Ordinary Time, typically, begins with the celebration of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River. There are few moments where each of the persons of the Trinity make their immediate presence known either visibly or audibly. Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan is a moment where the voice of the Father affirms Jesus’ identity as his divine son, but also bestows a mission on him. The unfolding of that mission - to save the human race – would be realized through Jesus’ preaching and healings and, ultimately, his Paschal Mystery.
Jesus’ baptism preceded the account that we see in today’s Gospel. The presence of the Dove, the indication of the presence of the Holy Spirit, hovered over the event of Jesus’ baptism. It signified the sacredness of the moment. It wasn’t just a gesture at an event of a moment in time…it’s the reality of the Church here and now. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the mission of Jesus Christ is permanent, infallible, and operative.
As we enter into the somewhat brief moment of Ordinary Time between Christmas and Lent, we cannot forget or take for granted the sacredness of this time, precisely because of the events that we just celebrated. The sacredness of Ordinary Time is an opportunity to look for the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, in the world, and in the Church, who constantly renews, heals, purifies, and strengthens. God’s grace is always at work in us. Our faith establishes the living, powerful relationship within the life of the Trinity that enables us to discover more of Christ’s presence in our world and in our own lives, which leads to greater peace!
Almighty ever-living God, who govern all things, both in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the pleading of your people and bestow your peace on our times.