Baptism of the Lord B
Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.
This Sunday's Reflection
There are two phrases in the middle of this Sunday’s reading which get commonly overlooked: ‘from Nazareth in Galilee.’ Readers of the Gospels know that Jesus was about thirty years of age when he first began to preach and was in active ministry for as much as three years. So what was he doing all those years before that ministry? Leading the ordinary life of a person in an ordinary village in an ordinary province. He obviously blended in well – the people of Nazareth were astonished when he returned and preached in their synagogue (Mk 6: 1-6). His Baptism, which we celebrate this Sunday, inaugurates a period of teaching and preaching which is fraught with controversy. Jesus is the Messiah but allows few to recognise him as such because most definitions of ‘Messiah’ distort the message he is trying to convey. Even John’s teaching on the One coming after him implies a great Teacher before whom all should bow down in awe, one untouchable in his holiness. Yet Jesus comes, one with the sinful, suffering humanity who express their repentance in undergoing John’s baptism. In Jesus’ baptism Mark gives one of the clearest revelations of who Jesus is: the revelation of God, the one inaugurating a new creation, the favoured, Beloved Son of God. The most profound divinity exists in the seemingly ordinary human. One has to learn to find the Messiah there or risk missing God altogether.
At the first ending of this Gospel, Mark has the angels tell the women to tell the disciples to Galilee to meet Jesus there (Mk 16:7). The disciples have seen, heard and experienced the story of Jesus’ ministry and death but they haven’t understood. Only in the return to their source, Galilee, will they come to full understanding. So what does this have to say to us? Nearly all reading this will have been baptised. We have the presence of God dwelling within us. We are the beloved daughter or son of God. Jesus is present in the Galilee of our lives. Our challenge is to meet him and worship him not as a great being remote from us, but as our brother, friend and lover present in all the circumstances of our lives.