Today the Church celebrates the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Precursor, John. Liturgically, this is the final day of the Christmas season. In the East the feast is known as Theophany. This awesome and mysterious event in the life of Christ shows forth the divine manifestation of the sacred Trinity.
As recorded by the Evangelist Mark:
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:9-11)
God chose to provide this clear and convincing showing to those who witnessed it. There likely would have been a crowd gathered for the baptisms John was performing. What a privilege it was to witness the manifestation of the Trinity and the declaration of Jesus as the Son of God! Here is the Messiah, the Son of God, here is the Father’s voice – the only occasion in the New Testament when we hear Him speak. Here is the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
Why is it that this is the solitary occasion for the people to hear the Father? I believe it further underscores the authority of the Son. That is, the Father spoke today to declare the Son’s authority and oneness with Him and the Holy Spirit. For the remainder of the time the Son would spend on earth He alone, would speak for the Father. His words would be the Father’s words.
Thank you, life-giving Trinity – for deeming us worthy to see your resplendent glory this day; the very manifestation of your mystery and your divinity, and your unity!
Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Evangelist.
Numbered among the Twelve, and identified as a tax collector, he answered the call of Jesus. He is also known by the name, Levi.
(This statue of an angel is the symbol of the Evangelist Matthew – it is located on the Duomo (Cathedral) of Orvieto in Italy, which I visited this Spring)
One thing that seems vogue today in Catholic biblical circles is an ongoing discussion of the dating and priority of the Gospels, specifically whether Matthew or Mark was written first.
Logical arguments abound on both sides, but the vehemence with which they are pursued are often over the top for my tastes.
Today it seems harder than ever to agree to disagree on a given topic. Whatever happened to the adage that “men of good will can disagree on an issue?”
Today we have a new adage, you see, many people think that those who don’t believe exactly as they do are somehow suspect, are somehow deficient.
Not only is that factually incorrect, it is also the application of poor logic. We’ve seen much of this faulty thinking around the confirmation hearing of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States. Instead of deciding to confirm him on his legal skill and background, some senators are trying to ascertain how he will decide cases linked to their favorite pet causes.
To disagree with Roberts personal view on abortion, is not a LOGICAL reason to vote against confirming him. A valid, logical reason would be something to do with his abilities as a lawyer or judge.
Perhaps the inspiration that guided St. Matthew in recording the Good News will also inspire the US Senate to judge Roberts on his merits and qualifications, rather than conjecture about a future ruling on a given topic.