Daily Gospel Reflection for January 3, 2014

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Today’s Gospel: John 1:29-34

Once again, John the Baptist directs us toward Jesus, the Lamb of God. He identifies Him as the one who, filled with the Holy Spirit, will take away the sins of the world.

Jesus didn’t need to be baptized. After all, He is God; but He humbled Himself to be like us so that He could intimately experience our weak humanity in every way except sin.

The baptism in the River Jordan didn’t have the same meaning as our sacramental rite of Baptism. It was a penitential baptism, signifying a new beginning, a gesture of profound humility before God and doing His Will. It marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry of saving sinners to the point of atoning for our sins.

In His human frailty, I wonder if He had any misgivings or anxiety because surely He knew how it would all end. From the Biblical account, it seems that He went willingly to the River Jordan. He humbly submitted Himself to the baptismal ritual and He said yes to the Father’s plan of love and salvation.

How deep is the love for us that He showed that day on the River Jordan! How rich in humility, mercy and compassion is our Lord!

Ponder:

Today, how can you live out your sacramental baptism so that you can continue our Lord’s mission of compassion and salvation?

Pray:

Dear Jesus, thank You for taking on our human weakness in all ways but sin so that, in Your compassion, You fulfilled the divine work of expiation for our sins.

Copyright 2014 Terry McDermott

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks Terry,

    Beautiful reflection on God humbling himself to become man. That Scripture is packed with humility, love and compassion. I think I could spend my life meditating on the richness of just this: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” — the ultimate humility, love and mercy. Every Jewish person there knew what John was saying, “This IS the Messiah who will die for our sins.” That had to be a hard concept to grasp, after anticipating it for 2,000 years! But Jesus helps us enter into that concept by being baptized by John, by humbling “Himself to be like us so that He could intimately experience our weak humanity in every way except sin.” He let’s us “in” at the beginning of his ministry and, being the perfect teacher, He shows us the way!

    Thanks for the great challenge to ponder our own baptism and how it prepares us to enter into the mission of Jesus as prophet, priest and king. Lots to think about today.

    Blessings!

    Kelly

  2. Terry, I second Kelly’s comments about the weight of this passage and how it makes me feel. When I read this, along with desiring to more fully live out my baptismal vows, I desire to try to avoid “near occasions of sin”. I know that I can never be fully sinless, but the weight of my sins upon Jesus back as he hangs on that cross drive me to tears if I fully contemplate that gift of himself to us. Thank you for a lovely reflection. Your question will be in my heart as I go about my day.

    • You’re welcome, Lisa. Thanks for your comment. I read a book by Dr. Frederick Zugibe called : The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensics Inquiry where he explains how the crucifixion affected Jesus physically and to a certain extent, psychologically. Jesus willingly experienced some of the most horrific torture that can be inflicted on anyone.

  3. I have the benefit of having read this twice.

    It struck me the first time through, and the second time through, after reading the comments above…I can only think about how cold my toes are and how the reality of NOW so often keeps me from thinking about my eternal goal.

    But when we consider that whole idea of humility…well then. There’s an ongoing lesson. My toes are still cold. But there’s more to it, huh?

    Not sure I’m even making sense…but thanks for this reflection, Terry. It was great, both times! 🙂

    • LOL! No, Sarah, you’re making sense (I think). Thank you. I like your point about how the “reality of now” keeps us from thinking about eternity. It’s something to think about.

  4. Your last sentence – “How rich in humility, mercy and compassion is our Lord!” – really moved me. I will use it in my prayer this week. God bless!

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