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Sunday, January 13, 2013

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Baptism of the Lord

Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
Psalm 104:1-4, 24-25, 27-30
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

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"The skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him." —Luke 3:21-22

The first action of Jesus after His baptism was: "He saw" (Mk 1:10). When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John, "immediately on coming up out of the water He saw" the sky split and the Spirit descend on Him (Mk 1:10). Before Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit, Peter began preaching to them in "these words; 'I begin to see' " (Acts 10:34). It is prophesied that the Messiah upon Whom God's Spirit rests will "open the eyes of the blind" (Is 42:7).

Today's celebration of the baptism of Jesus is associated with seeing God, others, and ourselves in a new way. After receiving the graces of this last day in the Christmas season, we will "no longer know Him by" our old standards (2 Cor 5:16). We will see God not as a force or a thing or even as only a person; we will see Him as our own Father Who loves us (and even likes us) (Mk 1:11). This will transform the way we see ourselves. We will truly believe we are chosen, beloved, royal, priestly, and holy (see 1 Pt 2:9). Then we will see other people as God sees them. We will love our neighbors as ourselves (Mt 22:39). We will "esteem the person of every" human being (1 Pt 2:17).

On this last day of the Christmas season, renew your baptismal promises, open your eyes, and receive the Spirit.

Prayer:  Father and Son, today send the Holy Spirit, the true Christmas Spirit.

Promise:  "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy." —Ti 3:4-5

Praise:  Praise Jesus, beloved Son of the Father! Lord Jesus, baptize us in the Holy Spirit, that we may sing Your praises everywhere.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 27, 2012

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