“You are my son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22)

The Baptism of the Lord

Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by a strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

Titus 2:11-14;3:4-7

Beloved: The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Luke 3:15-16,21-22

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is an account of the revelation of the divinity of Christ after His baptism by John the Baptist, “the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22).

It takes faith for Christians to believe in the divinity of Christ. It is not through our own merits that we have the gift of faith, “Your faith might be a matter, not of human wisdom, but of God’s power” (1 Cor 2:5). It is by His revelation that the invisible God, from the fullness of His love, invites and receives us in his own company. Faith is our response to God’s invitation when we completely submit our intellect and our will to Him (Ref. CCC 142 and 143).

Each one of us has a different story about our own faith and conversion. We may be fortu-nate to know God through faithful and loving parents, a gentle and righteous teacher in school or a holy and compassionate priest in church. We may be in search of God and indeed find Him and the meaning of our being. We may encounter God when we receive a spectacular or even miraculous grace to render us relief from a terrible suffering. Or we may simply encounter God through the beauty and wonder of nature, the living things on earth, the stars in the sky and the timeless universe. Or we may be amazed by the synchronization and order in our own physical self from the cellular level to the bodily functions, in the mother earth where we live and the universe that we are part of, pointing us to an omnipotent Creator, the almighty Triune God.

We are truly blessed to have the gift of faith. Let us follow St. Paul’s advice, strive to be transformed by faith to “renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright and godly” and make it our goal in life that God will also be well pleased in us His adopted children (Second reading Titus 2:12).

Posted: January 13, 2019

Shiu Lan

Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.

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