This weekend we have the beginning of Mark’s gospel. While Matthew and Luke each go into detail about Jesus’ birth with shepherds and wise men, Mark is ever in a hurry. Mark starts with Jesus as an already grown adult, beginning his public ministry by being baptized.

For a long time in the church, Baptism was seen mostly as forgiving sins, and it was difficult to say why Jesus would need this. He has no sins! One answer was simply that he was leading the way for all of us. Lately though, we talk about the positive side of baptism. It doesn’t just help us escape punishment for sin, or wash us clean of faults. It welcomes us into a new family. It makes us members of the family of God. If we take this approach, then it makes perfect sense that the Father would choose this moment to say “you are my beloved Son,” and the Spirit would make an appearance.

When we are baptized, there are certainly differences between ours and Christ’s. We have sinned, Jesus has not. And he is the son of the Father in every sense. Yet in baptism, we are invited to be “sons” and “daughters” of God, part of his family. We accept a new relationship with God, and therefore a new relationship with others who have done the same. It’s worth remembering here that baptism connects all who have received it, not just Catholics.

As we begin a new year, let’s remember who we are, and who we are called to be.

Peace, Fr. Dan

January 17, 2021