Jesus is the one anointed with the Spirit. God has sent him to bring the Good News to the poor. To belong to him is to share in his anointing and sending.
The baptism of Jesus identifies him as God’s beloved Son, with a share in divinity. But it also suggests that he is God’s Suffering Servant.
God has chosen this Servant and is pleased with him. God’s Spirit is upon him, so that he may fulfill all justice and also bring it forth to the nations. For his calling is for the victory of justice. And for the setting up, too, of the covenant that brings light, healing and freedom.
In other words, God anoints Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Such anointing, then, drives Jesus to go about doing good. And this is surely who Jesus is. He is the one with the Holy Spirit and sent to serve and give his life as a ransom.
It goes without saying that to share in Jesus’ anointing and sending is crucial to our Christian identity.
Christians, then, are those whom the Spirit prods to share the Good News of a loving God. With glowing faces and hearts throbbing (see Is 60, 5), they speak of this God who wants the best for his sons and daughters. This God seeks a world that fits us, a world of peace, justice, solidarity, equality. Moreover, this God goes after those who stray, welcomes and forgives sinners, and shows no partiality. In short, those whom the Holy Spirit leads show, as Jesus, the face of a kind God who saves. Not of a harsh God who condemns.
Christians are those who have the Spirit of courage who enables them to speak truth to power. To those today who are like Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin. Christians must not be false prophets, who only want to stay in power. That is why they say only what the powerful want to hear.
Christians are to teach with the authority that comes from the Spirit, as Jesus, not as the scribes (Mt. 7, 29). So, they practice what they preach. And they do not gloss over the weightier things of the law: justice, mercy and faithfulness (Mt. 23, 23; see also EG 35). They are, then, mindful of the poor and eager to help them (see Gal 2, 10).
All this says that Christians share in the baptism of Jesus. And they do so, knowing that baptism is not something that happens once and then it is over. Rather, it is ongoing. It remains a work in progress until they can say with the Son and Servant of God, “It is finished” (Jn 19, 30). Until they enter into the joy of their Master, after giving up their bodies and shedding their blood.
Lord Jesus, make us share in your baptism. And grant that we live and die in the service of the poor, in the arms of Providence, and with genuine renouncement of ourselves to follow you (SV.EN III:384). Let our baptism, our initiation or beginning, reach its fulfillment and end.
12 January 2020
Baptism of the Lord (A)
Is 42, 1-4. 6-7; Acts 10, 34-38; Mt 3, 13-17