The Baptism of the Jesus | Year C
Luke 3:15-16. 21-22A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared among them all, ‘I baptise with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’
Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’.
ReflectionIn the southern hemisphere sky the constellation Crux is a distinctive feature of the night sky. As its name implies, it is shaped like a cross and so is commonly referred to as the Southern Cross. Two stars, Alpha and Beta Centauri, point directly at the Cross and can be used to distinguish it from the nearby “False Cross”. For this reason Alpha and Beta Centauri are often referred to as “The Pointers”.
John the Baptist was the “pointer” of his time, pointing people towards Jesus. If John had any doubts about Jesus they would surely have disappeared shortly after he baptised Jesus. John heard the voice of the Father, saw the “bodily shape” of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and stood in the presence of Jesus, the Son. The beginning of the public ministry of Jesus was marked by manifestation of the Trinity, a sign which would have confirmed forever for John his belief that Jesus was the Messiah.
At this time of the year, when the skies are dark and clear, the Southern Cross and the Pointers are heavenly reminders of the model that John the Baptist is for us. He pointed the way to Jesus for the people who came to him or whom he encountered in his travels as he preached in the countryside. If there is a New Year resolution to be made then a desire to “point the way to Christ” is a very worthy resolution.
Any encounter provides an opportunity to point the way to Christ. There is no need to be overly aware and forced about this process. Offering ourselves often in prayer for this service means that it will happen whether we are aware of it or not. Often it is best not to be aware.
John pointed the way to Jesus in everything that happened to him – in Elizabeth’s womb, among the crowds, and at the end of his life, in prison. Can we too let the difficult times, the joyful times, the successes, the failures and all the complexities of our lives point us and others towards Jesus?