First Reading: Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 55:1-11 or Acts 10:35-38 or 1 Jn 5:1-9
Psalm: Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 or Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
Gospel: Mk 1:7-11
Today, many of us may ask, “Why does Jesus have to be baptized?” The
baptism of Jesus by John is not the same as the Sacrament of Baptism
we received: Baptism that is dying to sin and rising to new life in
Jesus Christ. It is becoming a member of his Body by uniting
ourselves to the Christian community. It is becoming a child of God
in and through Jesus Christ. Our understanding of baptism has a
direct relation to Christ himself – who he was and what he did. For
us, our baptism says that we are united with Christ.
The Baptism of the Lord by John, as told us through the Gospels, is
very different from this. It is a central point in the life of
Jesus Christ. It was the inauguration of his mission, his public
ministry, which would ultimately lead to the cross.
At our Baptism, we received a share in Jesus’ mission. Every
Christian is a missionary by virtue of our baptism. God gives us
the talents, potentials and skills needed to carry out our part of
the mission. One of the greatest privileges of being baptized is
the power to participate in the Eucharist. With Jesus we offer
ourselves in love to the Father. Someone once said that Baptism
unites us to Christ and the Eucharist identifies us with Christ.
Certainly we can appreciate that Baptism leads us to the Eucharist.
If Baptism is our birth into Christ, the Eucharist is our
nourishment for our daily lives.