|First reading||Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7 ©|
Thus says the Lord:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations.
He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame.
Faithfully he brings true justice;
he will neither waver, nor be crushed
until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.
I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;
I have taken you by the hand and formed you;
I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.
|Second reading||Acts 10:34-38 ©|
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.
‘It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ – but Jesus Christ is Lord of all men. You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.’
|Gospel||Matthew 3:13-17 ©|
Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.
As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’
John and Jesus are friends even from the womb. John leaps up with joy inside Elizabeth’s womb when Mary, then just learned to become the mother of Jesus, has come to visit her cousin. They would always say something good to each other. Jesus said of John in one part of the gospel, “There is no one born of a woman, who is greater than John the Baptist.” John, also said of Jesus, “Behold the lamb of God. I am not even worthy to untie his sandals…He has to increase, while I must decrease…”
As a friend, John paves the way for his friend Jesus, as the latter starts his public ministry. Jesus came to John to be baptized. His friend, out of his humility and littleness before the Lord, somehow hesitated, but in the end he ended up baptizing him.
Their ministries combined together are witnessed by the Trinity, and thus made firm. From then on, John’s life gives way to Jesus…making himself less by making Jesus more.
As friends of Jesus, we are als0 called to be proud to have him as our friend. Yet we also have to be humble enough to give prominence to Jesus as we live out our friendship with him. If we do this, he’ll also make us feel the real friendship he offered and shared with us, just as all the saints do.