Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection January 06, 2024


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R/. O Jerusalem, glorify the Lord! or Alleluia.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. A cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

R/. Alleluia

At that time: John preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

1. God gives us eternal life and this life is in His Son. Whoever believes and abides in the Son will obtain this life. To give us this life, the Son shares our human life becoming one of us. The eternal God takes upon himself the temporary human flesh.

2. The incarnation of His only Son is an authentic indicative of God’s condescending love for us and His eternal plan of salvation. This is an essential tenet of faith to believe in: the Son of God has incarnated himself as Jesus of Nazareth in the human womb of the virgin Mary.

3. As John attests in the first reading, God Himself bears testimony to this truth. Wherever God steps in, it gets transformed. His sharing in our humanity is not a limitation or restriction on the infinitude of his divinity.

4. The very fact that he subjects himself to time and space is not an imperfection. Rather, it shows his perfection to make himself part of the imperfection without losing his intrinsic perfection. Therefore, humanity does not limit or take away the identity, power and sanctity of Jesus.

5. This is what is attested by both John the Baptist and the Father Himself in the gospel. John the Baptist declares that the power of Jesus is far-surpassing his because he is the eternal God. He pre-existed even before his earthly appearance.

6. Further, just because Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus is not inferior to him. John the Baptist baptizes with water but Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Still further, the Father bears testimony to Jesus at his baptism, confirming, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”.

7. This then is the whole content of our faith and testimony: God gives us eternal life through His only Son Jesus Christ. We can receive this through our faith in Jesus and faithfulness to this faith through bearing testimony to him.

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