The first of the optional Second readings for Sunday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord comes from the 1st Letter of St John.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been begotten by God;
and whoever loves the Father that begot him
loves the child whom he begets.
We can be sure that we love God’s children
if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;
this is what loving God is –
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not difficult,
because anyone who has been begotten by God
has already overcome the world;
this is the victory over the world –
Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth –
so that there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, the water and the blood,
and all three of them agree.
We accept the testimony of human witnesses,
but God’s testimony is much greater,
and this is God’s testimony,
given as evidence for his Son.
1 John 5:1-9
John the Baptist preached the Kingdom, – a teaching taken over by Jesus and fulfilled by him
Overcoming the world is about learning to live to Kingdom values – values of love and service and self-sacrifice for the growth and healing of others.
In this world so marred by violence and hatred, pray that your love of Christ may help you to grow in love of neighbour.
Photograph of figure of John the Baptist by Rodin – Victoria and Albert Museum. (c) 2015, Allen Morris