The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Readings: Isaiah 55:1–11; Isaiah 12; 1 John 5:1–9; Mark 1:7–11
10 January 2021
“The word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty.” – Isaiah 55:11
The seeds that we planted during Sydney’s quarantine shutdown have sprouted into very edible vegetables despite winter’s cold and an exponential decrease in attention from the gardeners once the restrictions eased. And as predicted, the final products (almost) resemble the pictures on their packets!
Today, Jesus is the seed, planting light and life in the depths of humanity’s watery chaos and rebellion. For those willing to die to themselves and live for him, Baptism turns the waters of death into the waters of new birth. Birth as what? As sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father, heirs to the kingdom.
The Hebrew mindset—the soil which nourished the roots of Christianity—understands “words” as being instruments of action. Thus, the actions of Jesus, the true Word of the Father, are never merely “symbolic”. His actions bring about the reality that they signify – and so his Baptism imbues all water with the possibility of bringing about salvation through the Sacrament of Baptism.
The Greek worldview—the air breathed by the first shoots of Christianity—considered “words” to contain the fullness of the reality they represent. Thus, in the person of Jesus, we find the entire revelation of the Trinity. When we become like Jesus through Baptism, we too receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and bring delight to the Father.
May the seed of divine life planted in your soul at Baptism not decay in the soil, but bear much fruit, making you an icon of the Trinity for the world.
Come, Holy Spirit—activate in my soul the gifts and virtues I received at my Baptism. Amen.
Sr Susanna Edmunds OP
Sr Susanna Edmunds OP grew up in the Diocese of Broken Bay and currently teaches high school religion at Trinity Catholic College in Auburn, NSW. She has been a member of the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia since 2010.