The Gospel for this the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord gives explicit testimony about the humility of the Baptist, and about the love of the Father for the Son.
In the course of his preaching John the Baptist said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’
Implicit in this passage of the Gospel is testimony about the humility of Jesus. The greater comes to be baptised by the lesser; the more powerful by the weaker, the sinless one by the sinner.
The self-abasement of the Son was first noted, this Christmas season, in the mystery of the Word who created all things being born as a creature, as the babe of Bethlehem. That humility remained a characteristic of Jesus throughout his ministry on earth. It continues in his ministry to us today.
Give thanks for the love of the Lord and pray that you may imitate it in your daily life.
Detail from the Piero della Francesca painting of the Baptism of Jesus in the collection of the National Gallery, London. Photograph (c) 2015, Allen Morris.