image-i-nations trésor

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Year C – 2022

Among us, people, signs are very much part of our interaction.
A wink, a scowl, a frown, a shaking of the head – all of these give a message.
But to be truly meaningful, such signs need to be interpreted.
If not, then the message can be either lost or misunderstood.

Today’s gospel text, on the Feast of Jesus’ Baptism (Luke 3:15-16,21-22), offers us many signs indeed.
People coming to John to be baptized is the sign of their repentance from their sins.
John speaks of the untying the sandal straps; this was a sign of unworthiness as it referred to the work of a slave.
The fire mentioned by John is a sign of purification.
The dove descending from above is interpreted as the sign of God’s Spirit.

But no matter how meaningful these signs may appear, they are weak and poor in comparison to THE SIGN not yet mentioned.
This exceptional SIGN is that of Jesus himself being baptized.

He goes down into the water, just like everyone else.
Even when John the Baptist objects, Jesus insists to be treated like all others (Matthew 3:3-15).
What does this say?
What does it mean?

During the Christmas season just ended, we have remembered the name given to Jesus: God-with-us.
Jesus is indeed God-with us, but today, we are given to understand that Jesus is also one-of us.
And the author of the letter to the Hebrews dares to say that Jesus was

“in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:21).

A close proximity, you may think.
More still: an amazing identity – this is the true meaning of the Incarnation.
Born like all of us, he will die as we will all do, to make us what he is:
true children of God!

Already in the 2nd century, Saint Irenaeus was teaching this extraordinary truth to the early Christians:
“The Son of God became the Son of man so that man might become a son of God”.

Ours is also an amazing identity!


Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Image: Pinterest

The Baptism of the Lord, C

mother new-born canstockI heard a sad but very inspiring story which I will share here with you. A woman pregnant with her first child became very sick during the fourth month of her pregnancy. Her condition was very serious and the doctor soon realised that she did not have a chance of remaining alive herself unless he prescribed some medication that could have negative effects on the child. He made this clear and told the women that she needed to decide very soon as it was a matter or urgency It was also obvious that at this stage the foetus would not live on its own. After much soul searching on the part of the mother-to-be and her husband, it was decided that the treatment should be administered. The woman survived and the pregnancy came to its full nine months when the woman gave birth to a baby boy. She was overjoyed.

When she was given her new-born, she held it close to her heart and kept repeating: « My previous little one, my beautiful child, my treasure! » She was beaming with joy completely oblivious to he serious face of the nurse who had given her the baby to hold. She had noticed how the baby was born with a hare-lip and later she was heard telling another nurse that the child’s face was ‘crooked’, as she said it. But the following days saw the mother remaining with the same admiring gaze on her little treasure and she would whisper to him: « My precious one, my beloved. »

JesusBaptismYou may be surprised to read that this story came back to my mind as I reflected on the readings of this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In the gospel (Luke 3:15-16,21-22), the Father used the same language about his Son whom he called « the Beloved ». Of course, Jesus had no blemish or defect of any kind. No, the story made me think of… ourselves and how the Father looked on us at our baptism! We were – we are – truly his beloved ones, we are precious in his sight and he loves us more than any human mother can cherish her new-born. He is not blind to our faults and defects, our sins ans miseries of all kinds. But none of these can prevent him from loving us. At times, we make serious efforts to ‘beautify’ ourselves in his sight, and surely our efforts must be pleasing to him as they express our desire to become more as he wants us to be. But, above all, it is not so much what we do that can make us more pleasing to him but what we allow him to do in us!

A medieval mystic, Margery Kemp, said that, in a visitation, the Lord told her: « More than your prayers, your devotions, your fasts, and all that you for me, what is most pleasing to me is that you believe that I love you. »

This may be the meaning of today’s feast: to allow the Lord to take delight in us as his beloved children and to believe that we are indeed precious to him!

Source: Pics:  Can Stock Photo