For the past 6 weeks we have been reflecting on the coming among us of the Son of God – the Word was made flesh and pitched his tent among us (Jn1)  The Eternal Word of the God took on our human nature in all its beauty and frailty – sin excepted – in Mary’s womb and was born as a baby.

 Today we meet Jesus, the fully grown man, at prayer after having been baptised by John the Baptist.  John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance – the people who came to him acknowledged their sins and were baptised as a sign of their repentance.  Jesus, the sinless and all holy One, did not need baptism – yet he accepts John’s baptism as a sign of his solidarity with sinful men and women.  This act of humility – of total self-emptying – caused heaven to open and the Holy Spirit to descend and the voice of the Father declares: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.”  Here we have a great mystery: that at the very moment when Jesus stands in solidarity with sinners the Father should declare him as his beloved Son on whom rests His favour – (and by inclusion all of us) – and we have the revelation of the Holy Trinity.  As St Paul tells us in today second reading: “When the kindness and love of God our saviour for humankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us by means of the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4)

In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus stands in solidarity with sinful humankind while in the waters of Baptism we are incorporated into Him and the voice of the Father addressed to Him is also addressed to each of us: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.” 

 

As Jesus experienced the opening of heaven when he had fully embraced the poverty of sinful humanity and was at prayer – so too for us – in prayer we become aware of the depths of our own poverty and wretched sinfulness.  Somehow in direct proportion to our honesty and humility we grow in awareness of God’s great merciful love and of our true identity in Christ – beloved children of God and brothers and sisters of each other and of Jesus our Brother.  When we are really present in the depths of our heart, God cannot resist us for He says through the Prophet Isaiah “My eyes are drawn to the one of humbled and contrite spirit” (Is 66:2)