January 11th, 2015 – Baptism of the Lord – Year B

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Today’s feast, which concludes the Christmas season, is a fitting climax to the Advent season of hope and the manifestation of Christ as light to all the nations on Epiphany. The feast serves as a hinge between the birth and the public ministry of Christ which is played out in the Sundays of Ordinary time.

The baptism of Jesus and the reference to the river Jordan is found in several texts from today’s liturgy. Deacon Owen Cummings has reminded us that “we are also invited by the Church to reflect on our own baptism, [and] are invited to enter more deeply into the performance of our own baptism.” When we re-call our baptism, we are stirring up water that was our own womb of entrance into the life of Christ. The word of God will quench our thirst and satisfy our hun-ger. As the late Jesuit Father Walter Burghardt said of today’s feast – “My own baptism reveals my identity, tells the world who I am. I am, like Jesus, a servant sent to suffer for justice.”

The antiphon for the Gospel canticle from the Liturgy of the Hours for the feast of the Epiphany proclaims “today the Bridegroom claims his bride, the Church, since Christ has washed her sins away in Jordan’s wa-ters; the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal wed-ding; and the wedding guests rejoice, for Christ has changed water into wine, alleluia.” Let the Church sing Alleluia, for we have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.