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January 9, 2022 - The Baptism of the Lord

“The Lord will bless his people with peace.”

Psalm 29

Readings

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

Acts of the Apostles 10:34-38

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22


Reflection

by Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB


The reading from the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that, like Jesus, we have been anointed with the Holy Spirit and power. This blessing came to us at our Baptism and was strengthened at our Confirmation. To hear the gentle voice of the Spirit we must listen daily in prayer. What are we being called to do or to be? St. Luke calls us to be peacemakers like Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa. He knew his own weakness and the mighty powers that were operating around him, but confident of God’s grace he inspired others to labor for peace and reconciliation. He believed in the power of women. “If we are going to see real development in the world, then our best investment is WOMEN.”


Today as we celebrate the feast of Christ’s Baptism, we are reminded of our own Baptism. Our new self is born from the waters and we have a fresh start. When Jesus came out of the water after John had baptized him, he heard God’s voice call him: “my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” What a joy to realize that we too are called beloved, not just at our Baptism, but always. We listen for those words, especially when we are not living as a beloved child. Yet, we always remain a beloved to God because God’s love covers our weakness. He continues to say to each of us, “I will always love you, my beloved son or daughter.”


Isaiah offers us a challenge. We are to be a “light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind and to bring prisoners from confinement.” How do we carry out this formidable task? Surely, only through the grace of God. Today’s world is full of darkness and hopelessness. What can we do to bring light into our troubled world? Each person seeks even a tiny light to move on with courage. We can’t expect a huge Hollywood search light, but perhaps a tiny light from a small oil lamp that was used in the time of Jesus. It may be dark around us, but as we move forward, the light goes with us. Even small acts of kindness bring Christ’s light and joy to the hearts of those we encounter.


From the Rule of St. Benedict

“Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge: If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts.” Prologue 9-10


Gospel Acclamation

"The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Cf Mark 9:7