It may seem strange, but this is a Christmas Feast. Not if we think of Christmas only in terms of the Baby in Bethlehem, but if we have followed the ideas of the Feasts of Holy Family and especially Epiphany, and have seen the Season in terms of the growing manifestation or appearing of the Son of God: first to the shepherds and then to the wise men from the East. Now in the River Jordan, Jesus, Son of Mary, is revealed to all as the fullness of all God’s promises: “This is my Son, the Beloved. On this day we stand before the revelation of God’s love for us, such that he would send his only Son into the world. Christmas without the Baptism of the Lord, and the words that are spoken from heaven, would be incomplete, since it is only in them that we fully see the wonder of what happened in Bethlehem. As we come to the end of Christmas today, and look forward to hearing the Gospels in Ordinary Time, we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved.
1ST READING ISAIAH 40: 1-5, 9-11;
2ND READING TITUS 2:11-14, 3: 4-7;
GOSPEL LUKE 3: 15-16, 21-22
Lord God, how great you are, clothed in majesty and glory, wrapped in light as in a robe! You stretch out the heavens like a tent. Above the rains you build your dwelling. You make the clouds your chariot, you walk on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers and flashing fire your servants. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your riches. There is the sea, vast and wide, with its moving swarms past counting living things great and small. All these look to you to give them their food in due season. You give it, they gather it up: you open your hand, they have their fill. You take back your spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.