A young man, a carpenter by trade, set out from the small village of Nazareth. He had heard that a son of a kinswoman of his mother Mary was preaching and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins at the River Jordon. He must have walked east along dirt tracts for several days towards that distant river valley.
Today, as his followers, we journey with him. What does baptism mean for us? Is it a sign of our commitment to love God and neighbour, a mark of discipleship?
Sinless, in a sinful society, Jesus came to the river. As John the Baptiser prayed and the water poured over him, Jesus shared in our human burden. The heavens broke. A heavenly voice affirmed his divinity. His saving work had begun, his identity affirmed. Do we continue to walk with him?
This Sunday marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Ordinary time in our Liturgical year. The hope of Christmas, though, never ends. We can feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, welcome the stranger, heal a wounded and broken planet, praise the Lord, and find the promised peace our baptism offers.