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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflections for January 8

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

January 8, 2017 —The Baptism of the Lord

Matthew 3:13-17
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

As we read this gospel, we are transported to the banks of the Jordan River. We see John knee-deep in the water, an imposing figure in rough garments, as he calls the crowd of onlookers to repentance. “Prepare the way of the Lord,” he cries out. “Make straight his paths.” He dips water with a bowl, then pours it over the heads of those who ask for baptism.

John fixes his gaze on a newcomer who smiles and wades toward him. John says, “I need to be baptized by you!” The newcomer smiles again, then speaks: “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” John, with trembling hands, pours water over the head of Jesus.

Suddenly, the sky grows brighter. A voice calls out, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Startled, we look up, and watch a dove of unearthly beauty flutter down and settle on Jesus.

What is happening? John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, but Jesus never sinned. He allowed himself to be baptized so he could bless water for his sacrament of Baptism. All water on earth is one. The water in the Jordan is bonded to humidity in the air, and this to moisture in the clouds, which falls again to the earth filling rivers, lakes, and oceans. When Jesus stood in the Jordan River he really did bless all the water on earth!

We were baptized with water once touched by Jesus. We were blessed in the names of the Trinity first publicly revealed on Jordan’s banks. We were filled with the grace of Baptism: liberation from original sin, a share in Christ’s death and Resurrection, new life making us temples of God’s presence and heirs of heaven.

It was indeed fitting for John and Jesus “to fulfill all righteousness.” It is indeed fitting for us to reflect on the Baptism of Jesus this Sunday, and each time we pray the first Luminous Mystery of Mary’s Rosary!

Read last week's reflection.