We have been baptized in Christ Jesus and died to sin to rise to a new life. May the risen Lord be always with you. R/ And with your spirit.
When Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him in the Jordan, just as John had baptized other people, Jesus saw that his task was to save people from their sins. He himself was without sin, but he made himself one with the people in their weakness. And then God confirmed him in his task by saying: “This is my beloved Son.” When we were baptized, we expressed, through our parents and godparents, that we had become one with Jesus. Since that day we share with Jesus in his task of serving and saving people. If we do so, then God can tell us too: “you are my beloved son or daughter.”
It is recommended to use today the rite of sprinkling with holy water.
Penitential Act (if the rite of the water is not used)
Though we have become one with Jesus in baptism, we have not lived as one with him. We now seek forgiveness from the Lord. (pause) Lord Jesus, you committed yourself wholeheartedly to the Father and to people: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, the Father recognized how you were going to serve him and people, when he said: “This is my beloved Son”: Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you unite us to yourself and commit us with you. May we too hear from the Father: “You are my beloved sons and daughters”: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Lord, forgive us our reluctance to serve and all our other sins. Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Opening Prayer
Let us pray that the Spirit make us live the life of Jesus (pause) Lord, our loving God, pour out on us the Holy Spirit who came down on Jesus when he was baptized in the Jordan and who guided Jesus in his life and death. Let the Spirit breathe on us freedom from fear and hatred, the fire of his love, fervor in prayer. May he bring harmony in our communities and lead us in our mission of making all people your sons and daughters, that all may praise and thank you through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
First Reading: Come to the Water and Have Life!
The prophet invites God’s people to live united with him in a lasting covenant. Let them be thirsty for his word and hungry for God and his life.
1 Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat; Come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy? Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Pay attention and come to me; listen, that you may have life. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, the steadfast loyalty promised to David As I made him a witness to peoples, a leader and commander of peoples, So shall you summon a nation you knew not, and a nation* that knew you not shall run to you, Because of the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their way, and sinners their thoughts; Let them turn to the LORD to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down And do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.
Responsorial Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R: You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my salvation;
I am confident and unafraid.
For the LORD is my strength and my might,
and he has been my salvation.
3With joy you will draw water
from the fountains of salvation, R:
And you will say on that day:
give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name. R:
Sing praise to the LORD for he has done glorious things;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
6Shout with exultation, City of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel! R:
Second Reading: Believe in Jesus, in Whom We Are Born
We are born from God if we believe in Jesus; three things have witnessed that Jesus is God’s Son: the water of baptism, the blood of the cross, and the Spirit of Pentecost.
2 Reading: 1 John 5:1-9
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves [also] the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. Who [indeed] is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord. If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Gospel: You Are My Beloved Son
The prophet had announced a servant filled with God’s Spirit. When Jesus is baptized, the Father recognizes him as his servant and his beloved Son. The Holy Spirit comes down on him.
Gospel: Mark 1:7-11
And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus’ baptism begins a “new era”. The new era is a “new creation”. Jesus is the “new Adam”.
Flannery O’Connor wrote a moving story called “The River”. One scene in the story is very similar to today’s gospel reading.
There’s a little boy named Bevel. His parents are so involved in social affairs that they often leave Bevel with an elderly babysitter.
One day the baby-sitter takes Bevel to the river, where a famous preacher is baptizing people. The baby-sitter presents Bevel to be baptized.
The preacher takes Bevel and, while saying the words of baptism, plunges him under the water. When he pulls Bevel up from the water, the preacher looks him straight in the eye and says, “Now you count, boy! Before, you didn’t even count.”
There’s one big difference between the preacher’s baptism of Bevel and John’s baptism of the people in the Jordan.
When the word baptism appears in the Gospel, it can mean one of three different baptisms.
First, it can mean John’s baptism with water.
John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. It was a sign that people repented their sins and wanted to wash them away.
John’s baptism was only the first step in a journey. It was only a sign. It was only a start. John made this perfectly clear when he said:
“I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
“He is much greater than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals.”
In other words, John is saying that his baptism is only a preparation for another baptism to come. John’s baptism is only a sign that people want to begin a new life.
This brings us to the second baptism. It is Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit.
At the end of his life Jesus told his disciples:
“Go … to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Jesus’ baptism is a baptism of rebirth. It communicates to people a whole new life. Commenting on this new life, Paul wrote to newly baptized Christians:
“When you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ…. You were at one time spiritually dead…. But God has now brought you to life with Christ.” Colossians 2:12-13
And so the baptism of Jesus communicates to people a share in his own life.
This brings us to the third baptism. It is John’s baptism of Jesus himself. Today’s gospel describes what took place when John baptized Jesus.
First, the sky opened. Second, the Spirit descended. Third, a voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son.”
John’s baptism of Jesus is sometimes called a baptism of revelation. This is because its importance lies in what it reveals to us through the images of the sky, the Spirit, and the voice.
Consider the image of the open sky.
In their imaginations, ancient Jews pictured God as living somewhere above the sky. They imagined the sky to be a kind of barrier separating heaven and earth. If God wanted to come down to earth, he had to break through the barrier.
This explains Isaiah’s words when he asks God to save the world from sin. Isaiah says to God, “Tear the sky open and come down.”
Isaiah 64:1
The image of the open sky suggests that God has heard the prophet’s prayer and is coming down to save the world. So a “new era” on earth is beginning.
This brings us to the second image: the image of the Spirit hovering over Jesus and the water.
This image is almost identical with the image the Book of Genesis uses to describe the start of creation. Genesis says, “God’s spirit hovered over the water.” (JB)
And so the image of the Spirit suggests that the new era is to be a “new creation” or “re-creation” of the world.
Finally, there is the third image: the voice from heaven, saying, “You are my own dear Son.” These words of God the Father identify Jesus as his Son. Jesus is the “new Adam” of the new creation. Paul compares Jesus and Adam this way:
“‘The first man, Adam, was created a living being’; but the last Adam [Jesus] is the life-giving Spirit….
“The first Adam … came from the earth; the second Adam came from heaven….
“Just as we bear the likeness of the man-made of earth [the first Adam], so we will bear the likeness of the Man from heaven [the second Adam, Jesus].” 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
And so the baptism of Jesus is a baptism of revelation. It reveals a “new era” that is just beginning. This new era is to be a “new creation” of the world in which Jesus is the “new Adam”.
This brings us to a final point. It is the most important point of all for us in this church.
The new creation that began with John’s baptism of Jesus became a personal reality for each one of us at our own baptism.
When we were baptized, in a very true sense, the sky opened above us, the Spirit of God descended upon us, and a voice said to us, “You are my son; today I have become your father.” Psalm 2:7
Paul concludes, saying:
“You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven…. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth….
“Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!” Colossians 3:1-4
United by our one Lord Jesus Christ, let us pray to the Father of all, and let us say:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
– For all those who believe that Jesus is really God’s Son and for all those who seek him, whether they know it or not, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
– For all those who are baptized, that they may live as God’s beloved sons and daughters, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
– For all those who believe in Christ, that they may soon be united in one faith, one hope, one love and one body, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
– For those whose life seems without meaning, for those who despair because of their faults, for all the loners in life, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
– For this and every Christian community, that we may seek God’s will together and draw strength from this Eucharist, let us pray:
R/ Lord, hear us through your Son.
Father, we thank you that you are our Father. Give us your Holy Spirit and gather us together to praise and love you now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Our God and Father, these gifts of bread and wine will become your beloved Son Jesus on whom your favor rests. Strengthen us with his body and blood and let his Holy Spirit renew us as people who live without compromise the message of justice and love and the very life of your Son. In this way, may we truly be your beloved sons and daughters on whom your favor rests, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
Let us give wholehearted thanks to the Father for having made us in baptism his beloved sons and daughters together with Jesus our Lord.
Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer
Baptized in the Holy Spirit and children of the Father through Jesus, his beloved Son, we pray with all trust Jesus’ own prayer: R/ Our Father…
Deliver Us
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us your peace in our day. Revive in us the grace of baptism and guide us by your Holy Spirit, that we may be faithful to our mission of living the life of Jesus in this world, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming in glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom…
Invitation to Communion
This is Jesus our Lord, the beloved Son of the Father, on whom God’s favor rests. Happy are we to be invited to share his table and to live his life. R/ Lord, I am not worthy…
Prayer after Communion
Our God and Father, you have opened heaven to us to strengthen us with the Bread of life and to fill us with the Holy Spirit. Make us new and call us away from our uncertainties and empty attachments. Send us out to go forward without fear on the road of your justice and peace, that we may be your beloved children together with your faithful Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
At his baptism Jesus saw his vocation: to serve God and people. At our baptism we were given our vocation. It is, in our own small way, the vocation of Jesus. Let each of us become a faithful servant and son or daughter of the Father, a humble servant of those around us. And may almighty God bless you all: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Go in the peace and the love of the Lord.
R/ Thanks be to God.

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