By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: January 8, 2018
January 8, 2018

Gospel MK 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Reflection:

Before Jesus entered onto the scene, John had already been calling people to be baptized as a sign of repentance of their sins. John was viewed as a holy man and had many followers. But, John was not trying to promote himself.

Today’s reading serves as a reminder: in our well intentioned desire to attract others to Christ, we are to shine “like” a light…but should keep in mind that we are not the light.

John the Baptist’s entire life was spent pointing others toward Jesus Christ.

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me….”

John consistently and deliberately deflected attention away from himself.

In speaking of Christ, John said,
“I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.”

John was recognized as a humble man of fiery temperament who called people to “make straight the path” of their own lives so as to make ready for the One to come.

What does it mean to be humble? A humble person has no illusions but knows the truth about themselves.

To those who questioned his authority, John the Baptist answered,
“I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

When we serve others out of compassion and meet their needs in the name of Christ, like John the Baptist, we too, “baptize” by making Christ known.

But, like John, it is important that our actions always draw attention to Jesus Christ, not to ourselves.

“It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.”

I struggle with the phrase, “It happened.”

It was not a coincidence that Jesus chose to be baptized; it was a deliberate act by Jesus. Although He was sinless and had no need for repentance, nevertheless, He wanted to show His solidarity with those who were seeking God’s love and forgiveness.

“On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.”

God sent the Holy Spirit upon Jesus at His baptism as a sign of His approval of His Son’s actions.

For those who “could hear,” God confirmed His pleasure with Jesus with His words: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

May God also be “well pleased” with our efforts to make His love known.

“The candles are many but the light is One.”
Rumi



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