Today marks the end of the Liturgical season of Christmas as we celebrate the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Throughout the Christmas season we have heard the titles and honorifics: Messiah, Wonder Counselor, Prince of Peace; but today, we hear the simple most intrinsic of all. This day the gospel proclaims the identity of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son.” (Mt 3:17).
As Jesus rose up from the waters of the Jordan and his baptism, the moment revealed what he already was: “beloved Son.” As we arose from our baptism, the moment revealed what we had become – even as a seed is the beginning of a harvest. It professed the hope of what we would fully live out: covenant people as pointed out in today’ readings:
“I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (Is 42:6-7)
In covenant we are bound to God with privileges as well as responsibilities. We are privileged to participate in the promised mercy and grace of God, privileged to celebrate the Sacraments, and privileged to be a light for the nations. And such is the responsibility: to be a conduit of mercy to the world, a light to the nations, and propose to others the path from darkness to covenant with God.
As the Church celebrates the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, let us each recommit to be that covenant people and begin anew our public ministry to the world.
Image credit: Baptism of Christ | Juan Navarrete (1568) | Public Domain | Museo del Prado