The Consecration that Flows from our Baptism, Baptism of the Lord (B), January 11, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Baptism of the Lord, Year B
January 11, 2015
Is 42:1-4,6-7, Is 12, Acts 10:34-38, Mk 1:7-11

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

 

The following text guided today’s homily: 

The Climax of the Christmas Season

Today’s celebration of the baptism of the Lord Jesus culminates the celebration of the Christmas season. It symbolically finishes Jesus’ three decades of hidden life as God the Father announces at the Jordan what was concealed from the beginning from almost everyone except from Mary and Joseph, a few shepherds, the wise men, Simeon and Anna and a handful of others: that Jesus is God’s own beloved Son in whom he is well pleased.

The celebration of Jesus’ baptism culminates the Christmas season in another way as well, because it points to our baptism, which is the means by which we enter into the saving work Jesus was born into our world to effectuate. Jesus entered the waters of the Jordan precisely in order to bless those waters so that what John’s baptism pointed to could actually be accomplished: John’s baptism indicated our and others’ need for spiritual cleansing, for the forgiveness of sin, but John’s baptism couldn’t actually take those sins away. When Jesus entered the water to be baptized, he sanctified the water so that baptism could now bring about what it signified.

And that’s what we celebrate at Christmas time.

As we have sung in O Little Child of Bethlehem over the course of these last few weeks, “O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sins and enter in, be born in us today.” That’s what happens in baptism as all are sins are wiped away and Christ himself makes us his temple. We continue singing, “We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell: Oh, come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel!” The first purpose of Christ’s incarnation and birth is so that we would be able to have him abide within us, and that reality commences in baptism.

But the life that begins in baptism also leads us somewhere else. Baptism makes possible the salvation that Christ took on our nature to accomplish. As we crooned throughout this season in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.” Christ through his incarnation has made it possible for us through baptism to enter into the mystery and meaning of Christmas and the immortality, resurrection and second birth that that baptism promises in this world and forever.

That’s the second reason why the feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends the Christmas season.

The Year for Consecrated Life

This year the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord and the remembrance of our baptism take on special significance because of the 14-month Year for Consecrated Life the Church began on the first Sunday of Advent. This special holy year not only is a time for us to pray for all of those in consecrated life — religious sisters, brothers and priests, consecrated virgins, widows and hermits, members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life and other forms in the Church — but it’s an occasion for all of us to focus on the reality of Christ’s consecration and our entering into Jesus’ consecration through baptism, which is the foundation for all consecrated life in the Church.

Today’s feast, therefore, could justly be considered one of the most important celebrations of the entire Year for Consecrated Life.

What I’d like to do today is to ponder four things:

  • first, Jesus’ consecration;
  • next our entering into that consecration through baptism;
  • then, the “more intimate” consecration of those in religious and consecrated life based on baptism;
  • and finally how all of us can learn from those in consecrated life how to live out better the consecrated nature of our Christian baptized life.

Christ’s Consecration

We begin with Christ’s consecration. Jesus would say during the Last Supper, “I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth” (Jn 17:19). The epiphany of Jesus consecration happened at his baptism in the Jordan River. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Jesus’ “eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when ‘God anointed [him] with the Holy Spirit and with power,’ ‘that he might be revealed to Israel’ as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as ‘the Holy One of God,’” in other words, “the Consecrated One of God.” In the Old Testament the way people were consecrated was through sacred anointing; at Jesus’ baptism, the Father publicly revealed Jesus as the Christ, literally the “anointed one,” and sent the Holy Spirit down upon him in the form of a dove as an external sign of that consecratory anointing.

St. John points to this consecration in today’s second reading when he said that there are three witnesses of Jesus’ consecration to the saving will of the Father, the “water” of baptism, the “blood” of Calvary, and the “Spirit.” St. John writes, “The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord. … Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.” That testimony happened at Jesus’ baptism by the Father’s voice and the outpouring of the Spirit.

Our Consecration within Jesus’

Jesus took on our nature so that we might be able to enter into that consecration, into that anointing, into that water, into that Blood, and into that Spirit. That’s the second reality on which we meditate. St. John the Baptist describes that unlike the baptism he was performing, the One who would come after him would “baptize … with the Holy Spirit” and “with fire” (Lk 3:16) precisely so that we could enter into His consecration and become, literally, little Christs, “little anointed ones,” or Christians. Through our baptism, St. Paul tells us, we are entering into Jesus’ own blood, his own baptism on Calvary, so that we could then enter fully into his risen life. Jesus once asked Saints James and John, “Can you drink the chalice that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” (Mk 10:38). That chalice is his Precious Blood in which he would be bathed, the Blood that flowed from his opened side along with the water that the Church has always considered the fountain of sacramental life (CCC 766, 1225). We enter into that saving stream through Baptism. That is the water that we joyfully draw from the springs of salvation, as we sang in the Psalm. That is the water that God through Isaiah in the first reading tells all those thirsting for God to come and drink. St. Paul reminds us all that through baptism we have entered into the saving stream of water, blood and Spirit when he rhetorically asks the first Roman Catholics, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4). Through baptism we drink of that stream of Living Water, Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Through Baptism we enter into Christ’s death and life. We die in Christ and are buried with him, but we’re also raised with him and experience a new life. We enter into Christ’s own paschal consecration.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church stresses that through baptism we are consecrated to God the Father in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ,” the Catechism says. “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation” (CCC 1272). Our consecration, in other words, is for life, for eternity; we belong at the level of our being to God and not even sin can erase that consecration (although it can obviously obscure it at a moral level). The Catechism goes on to say that this indelible “sacramental character … consecrates them for Christian religious worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity” (CCC 1273, 1280). Our consecration through baptism into Christ’s consecration allows and commits us to enter into Jesus’ own prayer, allows and commits us to enter into Jesus’ life of holiness, and allows and commits us to enter into Jesus’ love of neighbor to the extreme. This is the consecrated nature of the Christian life: to be immersed in Jesus Christ.

Consecration, Pope Benedict XVI once said, is a transfer of ownership, like the exchange of a deed to a house or the signing over of a title to a car. He asked priests in 2009, “What does “consecrate” mean?,” and he replied, “First of all it must be said that really only God is ‘consecrated’ or ‘holy.’ ‘To consecrate’ therefore means ‘to transfer’ a reality – a person or a thing – to become the property of God. And two complementary aspects are present in this: on the one hand, removing them from ordinary things, segregating, ‘setting them apart’ from the context of personal human life so that they may be totally given to God; and on the other, this segregation, this transferal into God’s sphere, has the very meaning of ‘sending,’ of mission: precisely because he or she is given to God, the reality, the consecrated person, exists ‘for’ others, is given to others. Giving to God means no longer existing for oneself, but for everyone. Whoever, like Jesus, is segregated from the world and set apart for God with a view to a task is for this very reason fully available to all. For the disciples the task will be to continue Jesus’ mission, to be given to God and thereby to be on mission for all. The Risen One, appearing to his disciples on Easter evening, was to say to them: ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you’” (Jn 20:21) (Chrism Mass Homily, April 9, 2009). Being consecrated with Christ beings being separated from worldliness to be with him in such a way that we now together with him seek to fulfill his salvific mission.

When parents bring their children to be baptized, they are consecrating them to God, they are bathing them in his Living Water not just on the outside but on the inside, they are submerging them in his love, dunking them permanently into his kingdom, steeping them in his Truth, plunging them into his passion, death and Resurrection. Baptism is not a sacrament we’re supposed to “towel off.” Rather it is a sacrament that touches the depth of our being and is meant to pervade the concrete reality of day-to-day life with the light of God, binding us to Christ and saturating us with his sanctity. Pope Benedict in 2012 followed up the thoughts we just heard on the transfer of ownership involved in consecration by asking priests another question that can just as easily apply to every believer. He asked, “Does our consecration extend to the daily reality of our lives – do we live as men of God in communion with Jesus Christ? … Or to put it more specifically, this configuration to Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, who does not take, but rather gives: what form does it take in the often dramatic situation of the Church today?” Each of us ought to ask today what difference our consecration to Christ in baptism makes in our life. Do we seek to live according to our baptismal identity? Do we reflect on the fact that through baptism we are supposed to be and behave differently from the rest because, through our consecration, we no longer belong to ourselves but to God? As St. Paul said to the first Christians in Corinth, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:19-20). The body, the soul, the heart, the strength of someone who belongs to God, who has been purchased by his blood, who lives out one’s consecration are all meant to give God glory.

A More Intimate Way of Living out our Baptismal Consecration

The consecrated life that we are celebrating this ecclesiastical holy year is based on this baptismal consecration. Consecrated men and women, conscious that they belong to God and filled with a sense of divine calling and love for Him, seek to live out their Christian consecration to the full in prayer, in community life and through the profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Catechism tells us about religious life, which is the most common form of consecrated life: “The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a ‘more intimate’ consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come” (CCC 916). It adds later that this consecration strengthens the entire Church to show to the world the consecrated nature of our correspondence to the Covenant God has made with us. “By this state of life consecrated to God,” the Catechism teaches, “the Church manifests Christ and shows us how the Holy Spirit acts so wonderfully in her. And so the first mission of those who profess the evangelical counsels is to live out their consecration” (CCC 931). In this Year for Consecrated Life, we thank God for the vocations of those who live out this “more intimate consecration” and we look to them for the example of how to live out our own baptismal consecration according to the vocations God has given each of us.

Let’s look at a few realities of consecration we can see lived by those in consecrated life that are supposed to be lived by each of us.

Belonging to God 

The first is the reality of the “belonging to God” that is part of consecration. Every Christian believer is supposed to belong to God as much as a cloistered nun or a Franciscan priest. Do you live with this type of total identification with Christ? Is your indelible participation in Jesus Christ and his consecration the most defining reality of your life? Are you a full-time Catholic just like those in consecrated life who give their lives over to God or are you a part-time Catholic or an occasional Catholic?

Once we ponder substantially the truth that we belong to God by baptism, so many aspects of our faith become easier. Prayer becomes easier because we grasp that all our time belongs to God and so making time to converse with God in prayer becomes straightforward. Obedience to God becomes easier, because we’re not trying to call the shots, but rather want God’s will to be done, knowing that by doing his will, we’re entrusting ourselves not to his arbitrary dictates but to his saving love. Generosity becomes easier, because we recognize all that we have belongs to God, so sacrificing for others, even living by a vow of poverty, is much easier because we’re not tempted any longer to scream “mine!” Living chastely becomes easier because we recognize our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit that belong to God and are not meant to be used as we please but for God’s glory, either in chaste marital love or in temporary or perpetual chaste continence for the Kingdom. And when we truly belong to God, we begin to recognize that whatever we sacrifice for God in the “transfer of ownership” involved in consecration is nothing compared to what we receive. As we live out our belonging to, we grasp much more profoundly that he lives out his consecration for us and open ourselves up to receive the gift of his own consecration: God gives us his own life, he gives us his name, he gives us his eternal love, he gives us heaven. The consecrated life is a mutual belonging between us and God, but it’s only those who live out their consecration who fully receive the fruit of God’s consecrating himself for us.

Sanctification

The second reality of our baptismal consecration that is highlighted by those in consecrated life is that through the consecration of baptism God calls us to nothing short of holiness. A synonym for consecration is sanctification. God doesn’t call us to mediocrity. He doesn’t want us to be average. He wants us, and told us many times that he wants us, to be holy as he is holy (Lev 19:2; Lev 20:7).

At the beginning of this third Christian millennium, St. John Paul II wrote powerfully about God’s call for us to become saints and said that this call flows immediately from our baptism. “Since baptism,” he said, “is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens: ‘Do you wish to receive Baptism?’ means at the same time to ask them: ‘Do you wish to become holy?’ It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48).

He went on to say, “This ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few ‘uncommon heroes’ of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual.” He mentioned the many Christians he had canonized, including “many lay people who attained holiness in the most ordinary circumstances of life,” before concluding, “The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction.”

Once upon a time there was the heresy that to become holy, to live according to a “high standard of Christian living,” one needed to become a priest or religious. It was thought that priests and consecrated were those who sought the A’s in the gift of Christian life, whereas everyone else was on the pass/fail track with an almost guaranteed enrollment in post mortem purgatorial reform school. One of the reasons why this idea was popular was because of the discipline found in consecrated life. Novitiates, seminaries and religious communities were spiritual boot camps where no defect was left uncorrected. High expectations were given along with a thorough formation in the spiritual life to help meet those expectations. Everything existed to help people grow in holiness. St. John Paul II was forcefully reiterating that God is calling the entire Church community — our families, our parishes, the whole Church — to become like that novitiate, seminary, or religious community, helping people to become holy. He was calling the whole Church to the discipline that makes holy disciples. He was calling us all to the “high standard of ordinary Christian living.” If you want to understand what I’ve been trying to do here at St. Bernadette’s as your pastor for the last two and a half years, it’s been to propose or re-propose to you with all of my heart this high standard of the call to Christian holiness, the call not to give God “something” but our best, the summons to pray Mass with all we’ve got, to make time for him in prayer and adoration, to get to know the Bible as well as Protestants, to seek to become genuine Good Samaritans to all those who are in need, to come to daily Mass whenever we can not because we have to but because we want to, to go to Confession frequently to receive God’s mercy and healing strength, in short to become more and more like God and learn how to imitate the love for God shown by St. Bernadette and all the saints.

The motivation for responding to God’s call for us to become holy we see in today’s Gospel and in the reality of baptism. God the Father says about Jesus, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased!” That’s what God says of each of us in baptism at the level of our being. We become his children through spiritual adoption, we become sharers in his divine nature (CCC 1265) and God says to each of us, “You are my beloved Child; with you I am well pleased!” This fact fills us with joy. St. John would write in his first letter, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. … Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). Those of us who are aware of the Father’s love seek, in other words, to respond to that love by making ourselves pure as God is pure, holy as he is holy, perfect as he is perfect. In response to him who loves us and is so pleased in us that he adopts as his own, we respond in love by seeking to please him in all things. And that’s a summary of holiness: to live up to our divine filiation, our becoming sons and daughters of God in Christ’s own sonship, and like Christ to please our Father in everything. This is what those in consecrated life seek to do and this is what they ought to inspire all of us through our baptismal consecration likewise to do.

The Mission

The third reality of baptismal consecration we learn from those in consecrated life is that we’re called to the mission. Belonging to God, seeking to please him in everything, means we begin to share his fatherly passion for the salvation of the world, beginning with everyone we know. Jesus Christ was born into the world in Bethlehem not so that we could have an annual expression of yuletide joviality and a season of mutual generosity, but to save us, because we needed saving. Likewise the world, and we, still need to make that salvation secure by entering or entering more deeply into Christ’s salvation. Consecrated men and women spend their lives not only entering into this salvation but through various apostolates seeking to bring Christ’s saving love to others. They teach the faith as missionaries in far distant lands and in Catholic schools and catechetical programs in places where the Church is established. They care for those who are sick, needy and abandoned in hospitals, clinics, food pantries and in so many other places. Even those who are cloistered contemplatives serve the whole world by praying for the needs of the world and the needs of all those on the front lines seeking to bring Christ’s saving love to the world. Each of us, by baptism and the Sacrament that “seals” our baptismal graces, Confirmation, become part of that same mission. We’re called to take it as seriously as those in consecrated life. Do we?

The whole baptismal ceremony features reminders to us of this mission that flows from our baptism. There’s a special prayer said over our ears and our lips so that we may hear the Word of God and proclaim our faith to the praise and glory of God the Father, just like those in consecrated life do. We, or our parents and godparents for us, pronounce our baptismal vows, which publicly declare that we’re turning our back on the ways of the world, the ways of darkness, the ways, promises and works of Satan and professing our faith in God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the Church God founded, in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the Body and life everlasting. These are not supposed to remain mere words but are meant to be translated into a whole way of life in which we reject evil and profess our faith in action just like those in consecrated life do. We’re covered with a white garment evocative on the outside of what’s happened on the inside, that we’ve been cleansed by Christ, and the minister commissions us to keep that dignity unstained to the eternal life of heaven; our baptismal garment is our vesture for the eternal wedding banquet (Mt 22:1-14) and we’re supposed to cherish that interior uniform as much as those in consecrated life care for their religious habits and vesture. After our baptism, we receive from the Paschal Candle our lit baptismal candle and we’re instructed, along with our parents and godparents, to keep that flame burning brightly, like the wise virgins in the Gospel parable, awaiting Christ’s return (Mt 25:1-13). It’s on our baptism that we receive, so to speak, a tongue of fire, like the apostles and members of the Church received on Pentecost, so that we can proclaim our faith by words and witness with ardent love. Those in consecrated life burn with the beauty and brightness of this love for God. Every believer is likewise supposed to burn with that light. Christ told us in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the Light of the World. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:14-16). This Year for Consecrated Life is a time for all of us, living out the consecration of our Baptism, to take the bushel basket off our faith and to let the light of our baptism, ignited in us by Christ when he lit us with the fire of his own consecration, shine for all the world to see so that others, seeing that light, might come to glorify God the Father and join us, through baptism and the new life that flows from it, as his beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters.

Renewing our Consecration and the Perpetual Bethlehem

We recall that baptism is a Sacrament of Initiation that is meant to lead to a Christian Life, a truly consecrated life. And God wishes to strengthen us to grow in the reality that Baptism began. In the Rite of Baptism, after the newly baptized child is anointed with Sacred Chrism as a sign of consecration, vested with the white garment, given the lit baptismal candle, and blessed on the ears and lips to hear and proclaim our faith, there’s a procession from the baptismal font to the altar. This is meant to communicate that the spiritual rebirth that takes place in the womb of the Church — the baptismal font — is meant to lead to the nourishment of the much-loved child of God at the altar. Just like a mother who after giving birth to a child seeks to feed the child so that it may grow, so God the Father after our spiritual rebirth seeks to feed us with the greatest nourishment of all, his own Son. It’s here at the altar that we renew our baptismal consecration every Mass as we enter into Christ’s consecration to the Father, renewing our awareness of our belonging to him as sons and daughters in Christ the Son, reminding ourselves of the call to a holy life in union with his holiness and recommitting ourselves to God’s mission of the salvation and sanctification of the world. It’s here at Mass that we are made more and more temples of God as we receive within ourselves the Word of God made flesh. It’s here that we wash our baptismal robes in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14) and are reignited by his extreme love to burn with the flame of faith. It’s here, in short, that we receive the strength God knows we need to remember our baptismal dignity and conform our entire life to that dignity. And the greatest help of all is the gift of his Son in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Perpetual Nazareth where Emmanuel “mild lays his glory by” and comes to “abide with us,” so that he may bring our salvation, bring our consecration, bring our call to holiness to completion.

Today on this Feast of the Lord’s baptism during this Year for Consecrated Life, as we prepare to enter anew into holiness with Christ who consecrated himself for us so that we may be consecrated in Him the Truth, we ask God the Father for the grace to live out that consecration to the full so that we may always live as his beloved sons and daughters who please him!

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1  IS 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6.

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Reading 2 1 JN 5:1-9

Beloved:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.

Alleluia CF. MK 9:7

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Or: CF. JN 1:29

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
John saw Jesus approaching him, and said:
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:7-11

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”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.”