The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.
More than a month ago we entered Advent, which a Franciscan colleague of mine likes to describe as a time of “joyful expectation.” Today as we conclude the Christmas season, we again hear about “expectation” in our Gospel selection.
Throughout this year we will read from the Gospel of Luke, and in today’s passage he describes how the people were “filled with expectation” that John the Baptist might be the Messiah.
Luke wants to show Jesus as the fulfillment of all that was promised and prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures. John the Baptist stands as a figure uniting that tradition with the person and the mission of Jesus. Jesus will fulfill the expectation people had for a Savior—if not quite in the way some expected it.
The signs accompanying the events of Jesus’ baptism ought to tip us off that something important is happening here. The heavens opening, the voice of the Father commending his “beloved Son” to us, and the presence of the Holy Spirit—all point to a moment of revelation.
We’ve probably all put Christmas behind us—except for the bills to be paid—and no doubt we’re ready for some quieter, less hectic days. But the life of a Christian must still be lived in constant “expectation,” for the Kingdom is breaking in, and we must be ready to witness to it.
In this week's first reading, Isaiah sees Jesus as the servant of God. What will he do for the all the world?
Isaiah describes how the Messiah will bring light to all people on earth. What will that do for the people of his time?
Peter speaks to the people gathered at the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, in the second reading. What does he tell them about Jesus of Nazareth?
What was unusual about Peter being at the house of Cornelius?
What is the setting that St. Luke describes in the Gospel?
What did John the Baptizer tell the people about Jesus?
What happened when John baptized Jesus? What did the voice from heaven say?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
As pointed out in our Baptism, water is the source of all new life. Find a way today to embrace the life-giving powers of water. For instance, try to drink more water today so that you can keep yourself healthy. Water any plants you have in your home. They bring many benefits to our lives. On the flip side, try to be aware of the fact that not everyone is blessed with access to healthy water—or water at all. Try to conserve water in any way possible, such as turning off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth.
Visit Catholic Relief Services' website to learn about ways the organization is working to provide people with access to safe drinkable water.
You might have been a baby when you were baptized and don't remember it. Ask a parent or relative to sit down with you and share remembrances with you of that day. It could be photos, your baptismal gown, cards, anything that recalls this most important day on your faith journey.